Messara report outlines tough remedies for New Zealand Racing

A New Zealand government-sanctioned report undertaken by Oceania racing expert John Messara has delivered a ‘blunt appraisal’ of the nation’s horseracing industry and standards

Presenting findings to NZ Racing Minister Winston Peters, Messara the current Chairman of Racing New South Wales (Australia) concludes that ‘New Zealand’s racing industry is in a state of serious malaise, and requires urgent reform.’

Furthermore, Messara warns government officials that NZ thoroughbred racing is at its ‘tipping point of irreparable damage’, unless structural and operating changes are undertaken.

Messara’s report was published yesterday at Hamilton, with the racing executive recommending;

  • A complete restructuring of the New Zealand Racing Board
  • A rebrand of New Zealand Racing’s entire enterprise.
  • Reducing the number of active racetracks from 48 to below 30, with remaining tracks undertaking an upgrade of sites and premises.
  • Devolving racing responsibilities and standards into separate codes
  • Outsourcing TAB NZ commercial services as a tender for international wagering operators
  • Increasing the number of ‘synthetic tracks’
  • Improve race/event appeal by expanding season prize money to over $100 million per annum

Responding to the report, Winston Peters told New Zealand media, that the severity of findings and recommendations meant that racing stakeholders could no longer maintain the status quo.

“It confirms what many of us have been worried about for a number of years and highlights the need for the industry to turn itself around.”

“As this review identifies, a complex task lies ahead and for that reason, Cabinet will also consider establishing a transition agency to help guide the process, particularly if there are changes to racing governance,” he said.

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