Peters delivers landmark package to racing & breeding industry

That's how New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Association chief executive Michael Martin describes Friday's announcement of racing taxation and bloodstock depreciation and GST changes by the Minister for Racing, Rt. Hon. Winston Peters.

The news was the culmination of many years' effort by sector and other groups, the Racing Board and individuals to win political support for the legislation necessary to restore the industry's domestic and international competitiveness.

Racing has been severely disadvantaged by paying a higher tax rate than other forms of gambling, while the breeding industry has found it increasingly difficult to maintain and attract investment without fair recognition of the high risks involved in the ownership of stallions and broodmares.

Michael says, "Mr Peters recognises how much we already contribute to the New Zealand economy, and how much more we can contribute by way of jobs, investment, exports and taxation if we're given an opportunity to grow. This is not a handout, it's a long-awaited, desperately needed opportunity, and we now have to make sure we don't waste it."

Michael warned, "Our competitors have got a long way in front of us " the Australians have made quantum leaps in breeding investment in the last six or seven years while we've been on the downward track.

Alarmingly, the number of thoroughbred foals born in New Zealand had fallen by about 600 over three years. "Only 4485 foals are being weaned this autumn. That must be worrying our administrators, who say we need 12 horses in every race. We're definitely going into an era of fewer New Zealand-bred horses on the track."

However, the depreciation changes will help to reverse this trend. Michael says, "I'm absolutely confident we'll get New Zealanders owning more stallions and broodmares now."

He congratulated Mr Peters at Friday's media conference on behalf of owners and breeders who comprise the industry's core investment base. He also congratulated everyone at grass roots level who had persevered with the taxation fight, keeping the issues in front of successive governments.

"We have 18,500 employees in the racing industry whose livelihoods rely on this and that's where the momentum has come from. The money must flow to those people who have kept horses on the track during a very difficult and testing period."



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