Centuries ago in Egypt, after toiling for 40 days and 40 nights, the prophet Moses descended from Mt Sinai with the words of God chiselled into two stone tablets - the 10 Commandments.

Last week, Egyptian-born, Australian-bred horse racing prophet John Messara descended on the New Zealand racing industry and delivered his 17 commandments.

Messara - an accountant and stockbroker as well as a racing man - was commissioned by the kingmaker of New Zealand politics, Winston Peters, to channel the wisdom of God and review the issues that have held NZ horse racing back since the glory days when rugby, racing and beer were predominant.

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Determined not to be outdone by Moses, Messara actually toiled for four months, then served up not 10 but 17 commandments chiselled into cloud tablets for the industry to study.

Like Moses, Messara said you can't just pick which commandments you want to follow, the success of his masterplan required all of them to be followed ... otherwise death and damnation were sure to come.

The 10 Commandments tell us not to covet thy neighbour's wife, servant, ox, donkey or anything else - but that is exactly what Messara wants to do - covet all assets from the racing clubs he has recommended for the chop and assign the proceeds to an infrastructure fund to develop those racetracks he feels worth retaining.

That may be a bone of contention with those who believe racing clubs own these assets.

However, according to the Racing Act 2003, members of a racing club have no pecuniary interest in the property of a club.

The act is a little vague in regard to dissolution of a racing club, stating that assets of racing clubs must be disposed of "for racing, public, charitable, or other purposes in the manner that the club, with the approval of the racing code with which it is registered, determines".

But, after all, if it wasn't for financial support from New Zealand Racing through wagering income, these racing clubs would have very little in the way of income or assets.

The Messara report will be contentious, as have been previous reports into horse racing - all of which have been pretty much ignored at their peril.

John Messara's report shows the way forward for the New Zealand racing industry, Steve Baron says
John Messara's report shows the way forward for the New Zealand racing industry, Steve Baron says

There is no contention, though, that horse racing is dying a slow death at present. But there will be a bitter pill to swallow for racing clubs that have been consigned to oblivion and jubilation from those who have survived the cull.

I have first-hand experience of the trials and tribulations everyone involved in the industry has faced over the past few decades as we have struggled with insufficient stake money which makes racing a horse pretty much unviable.

Messara's 17 commandments to transform the New Zealand racing industry make sense - regardless of how difficult they'll be to implement.

Horse racing cannot afford to maintain and upgrade as many racecourses as we have and expanding our market overseas ourselves is fraught with danger.

Stake money and minimum stake money must increase for the industry to remain viable and keep owners in the game. Synthetic all-weather tracks are necessary.

As recommended, exposing New Zealand racing to overseas markets by outsourcing commercial activities to an international wagering operator that can gain exposure and has the resources and technology to achieve this, makes perfect sense.

Outsourcing would also remove resentment from many who believe there are too many fat cats collecting six-figure incomes at head office.

And finally, the commandment "Thou shalt not kill". The government must stop killing off horse racing and repeal the existing betting levy that sucks $13 million a year out of horse racing - because racing contributes far more to our economy. In fact, it contributes over $1 billion every year and the government clips this ticket further down the track.

Let's hope everyone in New Zealand horse racing can embrace these 17 commandments much better than we seem to embrace Moses' 10.