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Source: New Zealand Government

National Yearling Sales at Karaka  

26 January 2020 

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Good morning.

It is a pleasure to be here on opening day of the 2020 National Yearling Sales Series.

Let us all acknowledge Sir Peter Vela and the Vela family for their outstanding contribution to the New Zealand racing industry, and continued support.

And a warm welcome to the Sales Series. This includes a special welcome to those who are visiting or watching from overseas.

This year is the 94th edition of the National Yearling sales.

And 2020 has produced an impressive catalogue.  Yet again it enhances New Zealand’s reputation for high quality racing bloodstock.

Horses sold here at Karaka go on to have outstanding success both at home and abroad.

Over 80 per cent of Group One winners in New Zealand last season were sourced at New Zealand Bloodstock.

More than half of all Group One winners in Hong Kong last season were Karaka graduates.

And New Zealand-bred horses have had similar success in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Macau.

So over the next few days there are many reasons to bid high and buy well !

The government has a clear vision for this industry and the need to protect and promote this great sport.

The new Racing Industry Bill was introduced to Parliament just prior to Christmas and is presently before a select committee.

This once great industry is at the crossroads. It is time for the industry to work together and use the opportunity before it.

And yet there are some willingly spreading falsehoods and misinformation.

Ignorance will suffocate this industry, not save or grow the industry.

One trade publication has made a series of claims which must be rebutted.

Revenue

It has been claimed “racing is in the worse state it has ever been in its 175 year history”.

Here are facts.  The government has already announced removing the betting levy – a 4 percent tax on annual betting profit. 

Last year’s racing bill also enacted a Point of Consumption charge, and the offshore user charge. RITA is already reaching commercial arrangements on the user charges – more revenue.

Once these revenue streams have come into full effect there will be about $25 million in additional revenue for the industry. This isn’t just theoretical – the TAB is already ring-fencing betting duty savings for the industry.

Intellectual Property

It has been claimed the new bill is “stealing the crown jewels – intellectual property” from the codes.

This is not correct. What the bill offers is in effect a continuation of the status quo for IP.  The TAB will be negotiating the aggregate IP for the all codes. Fragmenting your IP will cost you money not make you money. No IP has been stolen from anyone.

Governance

It has been claimed racing needs “its own Magna Carta” and the bill is about “total control by the Minister with Marxist-type bureaucratic regulatory control”

Not correct. Many of the Ministerial functions already exist in current law.  And the bill transfers racing functions to the codes while RITA will no longer exist.

And concerns about Ministerial functions are misplaced. They can be triggered at the request of a code to help resolve problems, such as racetrack consolidation.

More is being done for this industry over the last 18 months than has been done in decades.

  • The industry wanted a review and a change of governance to the NZ Racing Board – it is being provided.
  • The industry wanted tax relief measures. It is being provided.
  • The industry wanted other revenue sources. It is being provided.
  • The industry want to address racetrack consolidation – and the means and mechanism to do so is being provided.

While some of you may want to write a racing “Magna Carta” this government seeks to create genuine change.

Those who doubt this should ask themselves the question – “where would the industry be if the status quo was allowed to prevail?”

Dean McKenzie from RITA has been talking to many of you in the industry and he has good information for which you should keep an open mind.

The Government said it will change this industry for the better and we are.

There is still much work to do, but we are committed to seeing through the reform of the racing industry so that the industry is revitalised, healthy and financially viable.

On the following issues remember there is a Racing Bill before Parliament with submissions closing on the 11th of February.

Whether it is Race Fields/Point of Consumption or provision to be made for ‘flow through’ to the codes officials are already working with the Select Committee about addressing this.

Or on the codes needing to have representation on the Board of TAB NZ.  We hear you but surely we don’t want to go back to where things were in 2003. 

We’re looking at ways to ensure that the heart of this industry gains control of its destiny.

Or on the need for separation of TAB NZ and Government. 

‘An outsourcing decision is a commercial decision in the best interests of the industry’. That’s the claim but if an outsourcing decision ends up in an asset sale where would we have got ourselves?

However, let’s flip that on its head and consider a caveat to what the Government will not approve i.e. the industry allowed to reach any outsourcing or JV arrangement as long as it is not an asset sale beyond a certain threshold.

Submissions close on the 11th of February.  We’re here to listen and I trust every critic of this legislation has made their submission.

For these reasons, you should remain confident about this great sport.

And we all look forward to contributing to as well as celebrating the future successes of the next generation of Karaka graduates.

Again, enjoy your time at Karaka and good luck to those buying and selling.

It is a pleasure to declare the 2020 National Yearling Sales open.

And see you again next year.

Ends

MIL OSI