The Annual Conference of Representatives of New Zealand Totalisator Racing ClubsRacing
PLAZA INTERNATIONAL HOTEL, WELLINGTON
my thanks to the president of the racing conference, murray acklin, members of the executive committee and delegates for inviting me to open the annual conference of the racing clubs.
before declaring the conference open, i thought that i would take this opportunity to say a few words.
since my appointment to the portfolio, i have met with a large number of people from the racing industry representing a variety of interests. in addition, i have received many letters from individuals and other groups on a range of issues.
to me, meeting with industry representatives is a very important part of my work. i welcome the opportunity to receive the views of people from all parts of the industry.
certain themes have emerged from the array of meetings and correspondence.
in apparent order of importance, these themes can be briefly summarised as follows: number one: the racing industry board's new funding policy number two: appointments to the two racing boards, and number three: t.a.b. performance
at the beginning of this week, ernst & young released their audits of the r.i.b. and the t.a.b.
i will be very surprised if the audits do not replace the new funding policy as the number one issue facing the racing industry.
the audits are so far-reaching that they encompass all aspects of the racing industry. indeed, very little is left untouched. turning to the audit of the r.i.b., ernst & young contend that the structures and policies of the racing industry are neither efficient nor effective and are not appropriate for the desired performance of the industry.
this must be of serious concern to racing clubs.
the auditors go on to identify a number of barriers that, in their opinion, prevent the board from achieving its paramount function.
members of this conference will know that the r.i.b. was established to develop policies that would ensure the economic development and financial welfare of racing in this country and the financial security of those new zealanders whose livelihoods are derived from racing.
for me, it is a critical finding of the ernst & young audit that the racing industry board faces barriers that prevent it from achieving its paramount function.
i understand that members of this conference have not yet had the opportunity to read the two audits.
this is regrettable because a gathering like this would have been an appropriate place to debate the recommendations of both audits.
nevertheless, i would like to highlight several of the key areas for action idenfied in the audit of the r.i.b.:
the introduction of simplified enabling legislation
the removal of all subsidies so that the industry can know the real profitability of its product
the merger of the two racing boards to better effect the delivery of policy
a review of administrative structures to drive out costs
racing clubs to provide high quality off-course betting product at the best venues at the best time
a club lead rationalisation of venues to provide the minimum number of racing surfaces to competitively deliver the product
the r.i.b. to contract with the t.a.b. to deliver a certain pay-out to the industry
the t.a.b. to negotiate with the clubs to deliver the off-course product and
the resolution of the t.a.b. ownership issue
i welcome constructive debate and discussion on these issues, particularly on the proposal to merge the two racing boards.
however, the biggest challenges arising from the audit clearly lie with the industry itself. if change is to occur, that change must be driven by the industry itself.
my hope is that the industry will give careful consideration to the recommendations of both audits.
i look forward to receiving the considered views of the industry in due course.
before opening the annual meeting, i would like to convey my thanks to the president and the executive committee of the racing conference and to the chief executive of the conference for the assistance that they have afforded my office.
it is important that the minister is kept fully briefed on industry matters from the coal-face.
ladies and gentlemen, i formally declare the annual conference of representatives of new zealand totalisator racing clubs to be open.