NZ’s RITA says Racing Industry Bill “A Significant Milestone”

New Zealand’s Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) has reported that Parliament has had its first reading of the Racing Industry Bill, a major reform bill to replace the Racing Act 2003.

Dean McKenzie, who was appointed the interim executive chair of RITA, welcomed the introduction of the bill. He clarified that the passage of the bill ‘is a significant milestone for racing’ and will help achieve the’ ambitious goals set by John Messara to ensure the sustainability of the racing industry.’

“The revitalisation of the New Zealand racing industry is well underway thanks to the commitment and support of the Government. The nature of changes proposed are considered so substantive that a new Racing Act is recommended in the Bill,” McKenzie said.

“The new Bill is the culmination of the most significant reform of racing since 2003 and follows the Racing Reform Act which came into force on July 1 and included the gradual repeal of the betting levy and enabling regulations for a Point of Consumption Charge and Betting Information Use Charges.

“The racing industry in New Zealand contributes $1.6 billion to the economy, it provides a livelihood for 14,000 industry participants, and is an important part of our heritage.”

Mckenzie continued: “The Government’s support of racing will help lead to increased employment, improved exports and a general increase in the industry’s already significant contribution to New Zealand.

“RITA looks forward to contributing to the Select Committee process and enabling legislation that reforms the racing industry so that it is revitalised, healthy and financially viable once again.”

It was confirmed yesterday that McKenzie will take on the role of interim chairman from January to June 2020 to oversee the transformation of RITA into TAB NZ, taking over from current chief executive John Allen who will step down from RITA on December 20.