UPDATED 1.04.2020

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. On April 1 NZTR released information regarding their intentions for the future including a resumption of racing on July 1. To read the full release click here

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 

Information 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).



Information for Employees

Help with Essential Costs

The government has provided further individual help with Essential Costs through Work and Income, this will provide urgent help with costs like:

-Accommodation costs (rent, mortgage, board)
-Power, gas and water bills or heating
-Medical and dental costs

Individuals must apply for this support themselves through Work and Income.

Mortgage Holidays
The government as announced a six-month Mortgage Holiday for individuals that are eligible for this, you must contact your bank to find out if you are eligible and to apply.

KiwiSaver Contribution Holiday
If you are currently making contributions to KiwiSaver, you have options to lower your contribution rate to a minimum of 3% or apply for a contribution holiday.

To lower your rate you will need to complete the KS2 Form and return this to your Employer, if you would like to apply for a contribution holiday you must complete a KS6 Form and lodge this with IRD, once this is approved yourself and your Manager will receive a confirmation letter.

IRD are currently turning these requests around within days of an application being made.


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.

Support can also be found by contacting any of the following:

 Lifeline – 0800 543 354
 Youthline – 0800 376 633
 Samaritans – 0800 726 666
 Visit mentalhealth.org.nz

If you have any concerns about the welfare of horses please contact Alice Riggins at NZTR on 04 576 6266.

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


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