UPDATED 25.03.2020

We appreciate those in the thoroughbred industry are seeking specific, practical information. We have provided this where possible. As employers have health and safety, employment and contractual responsibilities that vary, in some instances we can only provide broad advice. We will continue to refine this advice where we can.

As of Tuesday March 23 racing of all codes will be suspended for four weeks. We will provide further updates on this as we get it.

Our advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries confirms that stud farms, agistment properties, training stables and centres where horses are in containment are listed as essential services under animal welfare considerations.

Broadly, your responsibilities are:

  • Ensure you meet your obligations under the HSWA to mitigate health and safety risks and protect their workers from them, so far as is reasonably practicable.
  • Develop a plan with your employees for likely scenarios in respect to COVID-19 in your workplace.
  • Facilitate, as far as possible, business continuity, thereby ensuring:
    - That the welfare of the horses for which you are responsible is not jeopardised.
    - Ongoing job security for your workforce.

It is important to support each other and circulate accurate information so we prepare and instigate effective plans to manage the situation as best we can.


It is imperative you are familiar with the NZ government  website which is updated regularly at Government Covid 19 


MPI has requested that all businesses with over five staff members (including the owner) register by 5pm on Friday, 27 March 2020.  Businesses will be able to continue operating while going through the registration process.

Businesses with more than 5 people (including the owner) working at each business site, or who cannot achieve social distancing between staff, need to register.

Key Questions
-Do you have 5 or fewer people (including the owner) working on farm
-Can you achieve social distancing and measures between staff in your work in your workplace, including travelling, to and from work?

If you answer YES to both questions you do NOT need to Register and do NOT need to fill in the form, you will be represented under the NZTBA's guidelines to the Ministry for Primary Industries Register for Safe Practice.

Otherwise you MUST complete Registration 

Businesses will need to answer 11 questions to provide assurance they have a plan and process to manage infection risks.

The NZTBA have worked on a template outlining the same guidelines as the one we have submitted to MPI for you to use. Please make sure you are familiar with it and adhere to these protocols.

Steps to register if you have 5 or more (including the owner) staff:

1: View information about registration by clicking here
2: View our template for registering for safe practice by clicking here
3: Register for safe practice with MPI by clicking here

Info for Employers

These are uncertain and stressful times for employers. The government has released a financial support package in response to Covid-19 which will be updated and extended. 

The package includes but is not limited to:
- A wage subsidy scheme
- Leave and self-isolation support
- Business cash flow and tax measures. 

If you’re not sure what assistance may be available or need help understanding the information contact your accountant or call the free government helpline on 0800 779 997 (8am–1am, 7 days a week).




It is normal to feel stressed or anxious in these situations. The thoroughbred industry is known for being a close-knit industry and now is the time to support each other more than ever. Phone your friends, neighbours and family and ask how they are going. Rather than add to the rising panic of the situation talk about practical solutions and support each other where you can safely.

For support with grief, anxiety,  distress or mental wellbeing, call or text the free ‘Need to talk?’ service 24 hours a day,  7 days a week on 1737 and talk things through with a trained counsellor.

If you have any concerns or advice you would like to share please contact Justine


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