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NZTBA Life Membership awarded to Arthur Ormond

Last night's Annual General Meeting of the NZTBA, held at Ellerslie Racecourse, Auckland, awarded Honorary Life Memberships to two past presidents, Arthur Ormond, Hastings and Sir Patrick Hogan, Cambridge.

Arthur Ormond of Byerley Thoroughbreds, Hastings, was a foundation member of the NZTBA Wellington branch and then of the Hawke's Bay branch. He was elected to the NZTBA Council in 1991 and was its President from 1996 until 2001. Arthur was the NZTBA's nominee to the Board of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing from 1999 until last year and chaired the New Zealand Equine Industry Training Organisation for more than ten years.

After receiving his Life Member's badge, Arthur made comments based on the following notes which are published here with his permission:


It is a privilege to join the list of those who have been granted Life Membership of this Association. I truly appreciate having been awarded this honour.

I have had lots of help along the way. I have had great support from my family at all times. It has been enjoyable at branch and council level working with like-minded people who have the same set of objectives.
And a special thanks to Michael who, with his team, has really cranked up the output of this Association.

Before I sit down, some observations that I have formed from the positions in the industry that I have held.

In 1995 the Council acknowledged that the cornerstone of our industry is domestic racing. The health of domestic racing is a major determinant of the health of the breeding sector. Having adopted that principle, Council then made the decision to be proactive and play its part in making domestic racing strong. This strategic direction was not popular with most racing administrators then and indeed now. Personally, I was pleased to see our current Council reaffirm that 1995 decision this year. I have a vision of a seamless industry structure. Not owners versus trainers versus clubs versus breeders etc. That vision is some way from reality at this point in time.

I was proud of the part the NZTBA played in setting up New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing. The company's mission statement "To market the New Zealand thoroughbred and related products both domestically and internationally" aid it all. Here was a marketing company set up by the industry, for the industry, to generically market the New Zealand thoroughbred. When I hear the platitude "We must work together" I look at the reality of NZTM today. The turnover of personnel in the company coupled with the arbitrary changes to its funding streams are not signs of a united entity going forward.

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing. I do think that the majority of racing clubs have abdicated the responsibility they have to administer racing. I find it incredible that [for the current NZTR Board election] in the northern and southern regions the incumbents are re-elected unopposed. Clearly this is an endorsement of the status quo, an endorsement of management over the last ten years. In the 1997 Ernst Young Report the authors commented "It is time for the racing industry to wake up, smell the coffee and take action. Urgent action is needed to reverse the long-term decline of racing." It still hasn't started to happen.

To the newly elected councillors, congratulations and good luck. A warning: you will have to get used to political speak. For example, when you hear our leaders say:
"We must be united" read Agree with me or else
"We must speak with one voice", or "We must sing off the same hymn sheet" - Just be sure it is my voice and my hymn sheet
"We must not criticise" - Don't you dare show me up
"We must not be negative" - Don't you dare criticise
So it's hard to win.

But you can win. Listen, and if you don't like what you hear, challenge.
Follow best business governance, maintain your integrity and common sense will prevail.

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