Rt Hon Winston Peters has released the Messara report which confirms concerns for the future of the industry and outlines a number of recommendations for immediate change.
The Racing Minister commissioned John Messara to conduct the report, who is credited with the successful reform of New South Wales racing. The report proposes urgent reform and paints a bleak picture for horse racing in New Zealand without immediate action.
Some of the findings of the report include increasing prize money, reducing the number of racetracks around the country from 48 to 28 and building three synthetic tracks at Cambridge, Awapuni and Riccarton.
Racing is a significant industry built on passionate support. It has created an industry which contributes $1.6 billion to GDP annually and is a major employer within New Zealand. We must develop this industry and facilitate its growth.
With the report available the Minister is accepting industry feedback and is developing a paper to take to cabinet for a decision.
The changes which will be proposed will be designed to save the industry from catastrophic failure. The status quo is unlikely to be accepted. With effective implementation of this transformation we should see a rapid turnaround within the industry.
New Zealand First has always been a friend to the racing industry, and we will ensure that this iconic industry gets the support it needs to thrive.