NZ Government Hopes RITA Return Racing Industry To Growth

The New Zealand Racing Minister, Winston Peters, described his ideas for the country’s new Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) and has said he expects the body to lead the domestic horse racing sector to sustainable growth.

RITA, which substituted the New Zealand Racing Board in July, was charged with supervising a radical revision of the country’s racing industry. It is seen as a transitional governing body to handle the industry while a fresh governance system is being established, with Peters setting out the main objectives that he intends to fulfil in his fiscal year 2019-20.

This will include taking decisions to commercially benefit the market and make it possible to make a positive contribution to the New Zealand economy and ensuring that the Crown’s contribution of NZ$3.5 m is wisely invested.

Peters also assigned RITA to determine where financing from the scheduled level of consumption tax on bookmakers should be distributed and to examine whether the TAB betting company should be outsourced to a third party. It must implement a economic framework in order to guarantee that it does not fall short of resources that are partly due to operational efficiencies and business revenues derived from broadcasting freedoms. He advised that as much cash as feasible should be distributed to award dishes and not to business overheads.

The Government put further emphasis on clients, stating that the body must incorporate a customer service ethos that invests effort to keep commitments, be serious about creating commitments and deliver on targets. In order to guarantee that there is no decrease in the public trust of the sector, Peters has requested RITA to engage with customers to guarantee that betting is carried out in a reasonable way and that attempts are made to minimise any future damage caused by gambling.

Peters also laid out more particular requirements for the new body, including a focus on securing enhanced variety and gender balance on boards and handling any prospective or considered disputes of concern with its board of directors.

The Board should have an accessible and transparent manner of working with both the Ministry and the Department, while RITA should submit periodic financial reports to the Minister at least four weeks after the start of each semester. In addition, RITA should provide key accountability records as and when necessary.

“The government remains committed to resolving key long-term challenges facing the country including sustainable economic development, increased exports, decent jobs paying higher wages, a healthy environment and a fair society and good government,” Peters said.

“The racing industry is well positioned to contribute to addressing these challenges. The industry is part of the social fabric and history of New Zealand and contributes significantly to the national economy, particularly in rural areas, among youth and in the bloodstock industry.”

RITA is presently seeking a fresh Chief Executive Officer, after John Allen announced this month that he will step down at the end of the year. Allen will remain on until Christmas to help the transfer to the current CEO.