Governance review will forestall future venue planning considerations that were due to commence over the coming months.
The NZRB and each racing code will now have to devote time to consider how they want the racing in NZ to be managed as John Messara who is conducting the review has openly declared his hand that it should not be jointly managed.
NZ Racing Minister Winston Peters recently announced a NZ racing industry governance review by way of a media release that stated the following.
Racing Minister Winston Peters has announced the government has appointed senior Australian racing expert John Messara to review the New Zealand racing industry’s governance structures, and provide recommendations on future directions for the industry.
“Racing is a significant industry creating $1.6 billion to GDP annually, it employs up to 50,000 people, and has many passionate supporters. However, it is vital an assessment is conducted on whether the industry is meeting its full financial potential, and whether its governance arrangements are top heavy,” said Mr Peters.
“For this reason it is pleasing Mr Messara has agreed to conduct a strategic review to provide advice to the Government,” he said.
“Mr Messara is considered one of Australia’s most successful racing administrators. As Chair of both Racing New South Wales and Racing Australia, he led reforms to increase and secure long-term revenue,” Mr Peters says.
“His review will also assist the government in determining if the current Racing Act 2003 and the proposed Racing Amendment Bill are fit for purpose,” he said.
In a recent article in the racing publication “The Informant” John Messara outlined some clear directions he would take the NZ racing industry if he was in charge and it certainly would mean the end to the current governance structure of the NZRB and three racing Codes.
The full article can be found at https://theinformant.co.nz/website/News/single_news/Messara-advises-NZ-racing-industry-to-start-again-with-a-blank-/KT8341
Here are some excerpts of his comments.
“Some of the things would be a better revenue deal, a more efficient broadcasting operation, containment of costs and one of the things a lot of jurisdictions have gone to, but one which I’m not in favour of, is having this regulatory body that presides over the three codes – New South Wales doesn’t have it.”
Messara was questioning the need for the very existence of the body of administration we know as the NZRB. More than that, he suggested the structure under which we are governed is one he could never have worked in and it was ill-conceived all those years ago.
“I’ve found that in industry where there’s a joint board involved in a number of industries there are too many complications,” he observed. “These are the sorts of boards that ‘grow like topsy’ and it becomes a bit of a burearacy and you want to avoid that at all costs. Thoroughbred racing can ill-afford to support harness or dog racing.”
“Each of these codes which has its own culture, its own personnel and its own way of dealing with issues and keeping them separate ends up costing less money rather than costing more money,” continued Messara, “and I think you have to keep them separate because they have their own ambitions and they end up not liking each other and don’t then co-operate. So, we have resisted that situation in New South Wales.
“I understand where these things have been invented from, but from a government minister’s point of view they don’t differentiate each of the codes – a lot of ministers aren’t au fait with racing but your Racing Minister is – to others it’s just racing.
“When you are dealing with parliamentarians all day like I did, you realise they don’t know the detail about any of those things – they know nothing! If they can bunch them all up and have a standard of integrity – they think they can achieve it all by doing that.
“It seems a neat organisation for them but what it does is cause enormous frictions and constraints – they are three different industries with three different types of people operating them and participating in them and thoroughbred racing is the biggest by far and is a big generator of GDP.