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Statement from National Spokesman on Racing

Recent comments by Racing Minister Damien O'Connor that he "expects" the Government's report on the Racing Board's call for a lower tax takeout to be viewed favourably by the industry, and that he is "trying" to have on-course betting duty abolished to enhance the on-course racing experience shows how out of touch Labour is with the real issues facing Racing.

The decline in horse numbers is a key factor in the fall in wagering on local races. The number of thoroughbred races programmed has fallen dramatically over the years. Behind the declining horse numbers (10% less foals in 3 years) are the large losses horse owners incur, with the average prize-money of a winning horse being only between 25% and 33% of the cost of keeping and training a horse.

If the Minister is successful in having on-course betting duty abolished and injecting $2.6 million into racing clubs what difference will it make?

Given that approximately 60% of the $2.6 million would go to the Thoroughbred Racing Clubs, this equates to $1,560 million divided by 2800 races per year giving $557 to each race, of which the winner would get approximately $360. That hardly covers the cost of transporting the horse to the course.

International studies show that increasing the prize money leads to investment in quality horses, more foals and more horses being raced for better returns, plus greater employment opportunities - a win-win situation.

Labour's procrastination and suggestions of tinkering at the edges won't meet the challenges of racing. This procastination has now been going on for 6 years, as the industry has continued to decline!

National has committed to reducing Racing duty to bring it into line with competitors such as casinos, so they pay the same duty based on betting profits. The estimated cost of this in lost revenue is conservatively $25 million.

We will also allow a 100% write-off of stallions over two years to ensure the thoroughbred breeding industry remains competitive internationally, and a 100% write-off of broodmares from age 12.

All of these moves will allow the Racing industry to deliver on its huge potential to the benefit of all New Zealanders.

- Lindsay Tisch, National Party Racing Spokesman


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