Bernard's Blog - 7 February

Bernard Saundry
7 February 2020

There have been many, many conversations happening over the past two weeks – predominantly around the Racing Industry Bill and submissions to the Select Committee.

There was a buzz around Ellerslie on Karaka Millions evening two weeks ago as we enjoyed a sensational night of racing witnessing some incredible performances on the track.  “We are listening,” was the message from Racing Minister Winston Peters in his speech, reminding racegoers of the need to make submissions to ensure their views were heard and understood.

At the Karaka sales the topic of the proposed Racing Bill was top of many agendas.  The industry was fortunate to have the architect of the Messara report, John Messara, present at the sales complex talking with vendors and other industry participants.

In my various discussions with industry stakeholders during the past two weeks I have been struck by the sense of unity and the desire to develop a strong industry-wide submission to the select committee.  NZTR shared a summary of its draft submission with clubs and stakeholders following our Board meeting on Tuesday.

I urge all industry participants to make themselves familiar with the issues around the Racing Industry Bill and how they might impact the industry’s future and ensure they make a submission by Tuesday 11 February.

As I have mentioned previously this is our once-in-20-years opportunity to create the step change necessary to drive our industry towards a vibrant and revitalised future.  Don’t miss the chance to have your say and let the politicians know what tweaks the proposed Bill needs to allow that future to become a reality.

A united industry voice is needed to drive the required changes to the Bill and every one of you is needed to help that happen.

Our key concerns around the Bill can be summarised to three areas – Intellectual Property (IP); appointments to the TAB; and Code functions.

In a radical departure from the status quo the legislation, through clause 81, proposes allocating all New Zealand and Australian IP rights to all New Zealand racing information to the TAB.  This gives no assurances to the industry that it will continue to be able to make use of its own IP to promote and administer racing.  A sub-licence from the TAB to use our own information is not acceptable.

Clause 81 must be deleted to preserve the status quo in relation to the use of racing’s intellectual property.

When it comes to appointments to the TAB, NZTR’s view is that the Bill should be amended to adopt the nominations advisory panel mechanism used in the Racing Act 2003 (pre-amendment) for the appointment of independent Board members

Finally, regarding code functions, the Bill as drafted does not provide the codes with the corresponding statutory powers to carry out the governance functions intended by the Messara report, which placed the codes at the centre of the industry.

There are of course, other areas of the Bill which also require our focus and we will be dealing with those in our submission also.  However, if the Bill is to deliver on the Racing Minister’s intentions then those three key areas require attention before the Bill progresses through the House.

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