NZRB welcomes passing of Racing Reform Bill

21 June 2019

The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) welcomes the passing of the Racing Reform Bill, reconstituting the NZRB as the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) and enabling critical investment in the industry.

Racing Minister Rt. Hon. Winston Peters announced today that RITA will be led by Dean McKenzie (Chair), Sir Peter Vela, Bill Birnie, Liz Dawson, Kristy McDonald and Anna Stove.

“We welcome the establishment of the RITA to oversee the reform of the industry as set out by Australian racing administrator Mr John Messara in 2018. We have been working closely with many of the members who were part of the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) and we are confident in their approach and the direction we are heading in,” says NZRB CEO John Allen.

“As well as enabling RITA, the Bill will help address the industry’s need for additional revenue. The phasing out of the totalisator duty currently paid to the Crown and introduction of two new charges on overseas betting operators will provide lasting benefit to both racing and sport in New Zealand.”

Mr Allen paid tribute to outgoing NZRB Board members Glenda Hughes (Chair), Rod Croon, Graham Cooney, Greg McCarthy, and Mauro Barsi.

“The current members of the Board have done an exemplary job as Directors and provide a strong foundation as we transition to RITA. Despite their terms expiring in July 2018 they have stayed on to ensure a smooth handover during a period of significant change. This Board has overseen the delivery of the biggest technology upgrade in the history of the TAB, a world class fixed odds betting platform, and record customer growth

“The Board has also enabled giant strides in the presentation of racing, overseeing an investment in outside broadcast capability which will enable New Zealand racing to be shown in high definition around the country and across the world,” says Allen.

The Racing Reform Bill passed its third and final reading in Parliament yesterday and comes in to force on 1 July.

“The Racing Reform Bill will go a long way towards revitalising the industry and provide the encouragement required for participants to invest with renewed confidence in the industry,” says  Allen.