NZ First leads the way for racing

Racing Desk
13 September 2017

The New Zealand national elections are fast approaching and the political parties have been releasing their election polices in the past few weeks and months, but the racing portfolio has been the forgotten child in many cases.

As of September 13, New Zealand First is the only Party who have released an election policy on racing, with neither Labour or National having done so at the time of writing.

Winston Peter Photo: Trish Dunell Photography

New Zealand First’s election policy includes a 10-point plan that aims to enhance the financial position of the industry and boost its image on the world stage.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was Racing Minister from 2005 through to 2008 and implemented a number of well received policies in that time.

“In 2006, New Zealand First recognised the export potential of the New Zealand breeding industry,” the party said in a statement.

“New Zealand First achieved a much-improved taxation regime through a reduction in totalisator duty and an accelerated write-down regime for bloodstock.

“The strongly supported decision to permit racehorses sold for export to remain in New Zealand for up to 24 months without attracting GST was a further fillip to the industry and to the New Zealand economy.”

One of the key points in their election policy is to increase the level of minimum stakes. The industry has already seen a minimum stakes increase this year to $10,000, however, New Zealand First plan on increasing this by 50 per cent to $15,000.

To achieve this increase, New Zealand First plan on returning a greater proportion of industry taxation to racing. 

In a boost to the breeding industry, New Zealand First also plan on introducing policies that will assist with importing bloodstock.

They have also announced a review will be conducted into the operations and costs of the New Zealand Racing Board.

Below is New Zealand First’s 10-point plan:

  • Return a greater proportion of industry taxation to the racing codes.

  • Introduce a new (below Premier Meeting) category of meeting where every race will be for $15,000 minimum, with relativity across the codes.

  • Enhance employment and export opportunities by working with the industry to improve the international status of New Zealand Group One races to attract greater international interest.

  • Restore marque racing plans and prize money initiatives in line with New Zealand First policy implementation 2005 –2008

  • Introduce means policies assisting importation of quality mares and properly using the sire cost write down.

  • Urgently review the operations and costs of the New Zealand Racing Board.

  • Continue to support projects and initiatives, e.g. the Racing Safety Development Fund (a contestable fund of $1.5 million per annum, matching dollar for dollar contributions from racing clubs) that enhances safety and improves the quality of facilities in the racing industry, including the safety of riders, handlers, spectators, officials and others involved in racing codes, as well as the health and safety of animals.

  • Direct IRD and Treasury to respect the spirit of the laws passed to assist racing so we do not have specious departmental interpretations of laws that are clear to the industry.

  • Further improve the appeal of the racing industry to a wider audience by encouraging the promotion of “family-friendly” activities in conjunction with race meetings in all codes.

  • Defend the historic, modest share of the racing industry, to lawful gambling proceeds, against unreasonable attacks.

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