Bernard's Blog - 21 November

Bernard Saundry
21 November 2019

This week kicked off with NZTR’s conference and Annual General Meeting in Wellington on Monday.

Proceedings were opened by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Racing The Right Hon. Winston Peters, with TV cameras from both news channels present to capture his address.  The Minister’s full address can be read here.

The Minister did stress that we all have parts to play in the new organisational structures which will come and also said that “NZTR as advocates for the thoroughbred code, play a vital role in seeing this reform through.”

As always, the Minister was looking towards the future and confirmed that it is the intention of government to have RITA disestablished from 1 July 2020 at which stage TAB NZ will focus on the wagering side of the business and the codes will have responsibility for their areas.

RITA Chairman Dean McKenzie provided the meeting with an update on the reform process at this stage and what we can expect in coming months.

There was a range of presentations throughout the day including contributions from a trio of clubs to talk about various successful raceday promotions they had undertaken over the past 12 months. Recognised Industry Organisations – the NZ Breeders’ Association; NZ Racehorse Owners’ Federation; NZ Jockeys’ Association and NZ Trainers’ Association – also presented on their activities over the past 12 months and the various issues facing each sector.

James Reid, the Executive GM Operations at the VRC presented on Social Licence and Sustainability with a fascinating insight as to how an organisation as large as the VRC has managed reducing waste.

Equine Welfare was also a focus with a presentation on where NZTR has got to at this stage with its welfare guidelines and strategy.  This was also touched on during our Deputy Chairman, Victoria Carter’s social media presentation, which included observations from a recent panel discussion she participated in at the IFHA Conference earlier in the month.

It was a full day leading into the AGM – for those who might not yet have see it the Annual Report is able to be viewed here.

During the AGM we farewelled Bill Cotton, the current chair of the Members’ Council, the body which appoints NZTR Board members.  Bill had come to the end of his nine-year term and his contribution will be missed, along with that of other retiring members – John Wheeler, Neil Oldfield and Murray Gibson. 

There was some good news for the industry today with the announcement of a new racing publication RACEFORM which will launch in early December and I would encourage all racing fans to support this publication.

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