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Racing in New Zealand directly and indirectly accounts for well over $1.6 billion worth of GDP, employs tens of thousands of people, has the potential to rapidly expand its export earnings, and is an integral part of the Kiwi lifestyle.

In 2006, New Zealand First recognised the export potential of the New Zealand breeding industry and the need for improved international marketing, and 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.

In addition, New Zealand First implemented a policy of internationally competitive stakes for racing codes, and an industry safety plan.

These achievements provided the industry with the momentum to bolster its economic contribution, creating more jobs, more exports, and more income for New Zealand.

Sadly, much of the impetus to revive the racing industry has been lost under the present Government’s neglect. Also of alarm are recent IRD and Treasury departmental attempts to re-interpret clearly established statutory provisions against the industry’s health and interests.

New Zealand First will:

  • 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 1 races to attract greater international interest.
  • Restore marque racing plans and prize money initiatives in line with New Zealand First policy implementation 2005 –2008
  • Return New Zealand racing to what it was good at. Racing needs breeding programmes to re-establish New Zealand as a first tier country in racing. That 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.

This is a Ten-Point Plan designed to maximise New Zealand's internationally recognised advantage in the development of race horses and to rebuild our country's reputation as a race horse breeding country of most interest to the world.

This plan supports the industry's objectives to increase its economic contribution, creating more jobs, more exports and more income for New Zealand.

Rt Hon Winston Peters MP on this policy

"Racing in New Zealand directly and indirectly accounts for $1.5 billion worth of GDP, employs more than 18,000 people, has export earnings per year of more than $130 million, and is an integral part of the Kiwi lifestyle."