New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing welcomed Tuesday’s announcement by Racing Minister the Rt Hon. Winston Peters of an Emergency Support package for the racing industry.
The support package consists of $50 million relief grant for the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA); up to $20 million in funding to construct two new all-weather racetracks; and $2.5 million for the Department of Internal Affairs to fast track work on the online gambling revenue, and address loss of revenue impacts on community and sport groups.
“The Minister described this as the first step in the restoration of racing, and emphasised that this a long-term process,” NZTR Chairman, Dr Alan Jackson said.
“It is no secret that COVID-19 and the absence of local racing has impacted severely on TAB revenue, and without the Minister’s intervention the industry’s future would have been limited.”
Jackson said it was pleasing to hear the Minister reaffirm the economic contribution of the racing industry.
“We are a $1.6 billion industry whose spread throughout the community, to those other businesses which support and supply our industry is often underestimated,” Jackson said.
“The industry needs to be aware that the support package is a leg-up, not a hand out and there are expectations from government that the industry will make the necessary changes required to live within its means.”
“NZTR, along with the other codes will also be continuing to work with RITA to ensure that future reforms are in line with those expected by the Minister and others in government,” he said.
Included in the support package is up to $20 million from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) for synthetic tracks at Awapuni and Riccarton.
“As the Minister outlined in his announcement the next step is for NZTR and RITA to consult with RACE in Manawatu and the Canterbury Jockey Club on the terms around those projects,” Jackson said.