New New Zealand Racing Industry Bill Filed

Tia Winter | 11 December 2019

The Right Honourable Winston Peters, whose portfolio includes the position of New Zealand’s Minister for Racing, has introduced the Racing Industry Bill. It’s the second section of a two-part legislative process, which intends to modernise the structures that govern this country’s horse racing industry.

The Bill was released on December 5th and establishes TAB NZ as the sole sports betting provider for races and sports in New Zealand. It will also ultimately be replacing RITA. The Department of Internal Affairs said that TAB NZ will finally be able to focus on how to maximise profit for the benefit of this sport while still maintaining a strong regard for the minimisation of gambling harm.

TAB NZ may be able to start introducing new betting products, but this will only be possible after an approval mechanism has been conducted by an independent body. The Bill has also established the Racing Integrity Board, which will take command of issues related to probity and allows for the separate governance of the Thoroughbred, Harness, and Greyhound race industries.

McKenzie Explains Its Significance

Chair of the Racing Industry Transition Agency Dean McKenzie said this bill will assist in ensuring the field’s sustainability. Commenting on the bill, he said that the revitalisation of this sport in this country has truly begun thanks to the government’s commitment and support. He stated that the nature of the proposed changes are considered to be so substantial that an entirely new Racing Act is being recommended in the Bill.

McKenzie said that this new proposal is the end-result of the most notable reforms in this field since 2003, and follows the first part, which came into force on July 1st. This section included the measured repeal of the betting tax and enabled regulations for Point of Consumption and Betting Information Use Charges.

It’s an Important Sport in NZ

McKenzie then spoke of the important part that this industry plays in terms of both culture and economy in New Zealand. He revealed that it contributes NZ$1.6 billion to the wealth of the country, provides 14 000 people with a livelihood, and has a huge role in our heritage. He said that thanks to governmental support, increased employment, improved exports, and an overall increase in commercial activity can be expected.

He spoke of how RITA is eagerly anticipating being able to contribute to the Select Committee process and making it possible for the kind of legislation that reforms this field to make it healthy, financially viable, and revitalised once more.