“The revitalisation of this industry is underway,” says Racing Minister Winston Peters as the Racing Reform Bill passed its third and final reading in Parliament today.
The Bill, which comes into force on 1 July, opens the starting gate for the transition of the New Zealand Racing Industry into a financially sustainable future.
The Bill reconstitutes the New Zealand Racing Board as the Racing Industry Transition Agency, (RITA).
RITA will have a new membership and a legislative mandate to manage the changes needed to revitalise the industry as well as to carry out business-as-usual functions.
The Bill also addresses the industry’s need for additional revenue. The totalisator duty currently paid to the Crown will be phased out, with the revenue returned to the industry and a portion retained for harm minimisation.
The Bill also introduces two new charges on overseas betting operators to help ensure they contribute to the New Zealand racing and sports codes from which they benefit.
The Bill permits RITA to offer betting on a wider range of sports where an agreement is reached with Sport New Zealand.
The formula for distributing payments to sporting and racing codes will be placed into regulations, so they can be more readily changed when needed by the industry.
“This Bill is an important first step. However, while the race has begun we are still far from the finish line” says Mr Peters, who intends to introduce a second Bill later this year to build on these initial reforms.
The second Bill will establish post-transition governance arrangements and other changes deemed necessary to ensure the revitalisation of the industry.
“As a whole, these reforms serve to emphasise the value of racing in New Zealand,” Mr Peters says.
“The Racing Reform Bill lays out an opportunity to deliver real results, to grow this industry for the benefit of our regions, our communities, and our economy.”