NZRB announces $24 million stakes boost for codes Wed, 19 Apr 2017

Dennis Ryan
NZRB CEO John Allen.
NZRB CEO John Allen.
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The New Zealand Racing Board has come to the aid of an industry asking for greater returns with an additional funding commitment of $24 million to the three racing codes over the next two years.

The announcement, made somewhat bizarrely at 8.30 tonight via Trackside TV’s Box Seat harness programme and circulated through a press release at the same time, is designed to increase stakes and enhance participation and investment in the racing industry.

“The Board is confident that the key strategic initiatives NZRB is progressing – the fixed odds betting platform, customer and channel improvements, racefields legislation and the optimise the calendar programme – will deliver a significant lift in annualised net profit per year to racing once fully implemented,” said NZRB Chair Glenda Hughes.

“However, we recognise that more urgent financial assistance is needed by the industry, which is why we are committing to deliver some of this future increase early, ahead of full implementation.”

The additional $24 million will be specifically targeted at lifting stakes across the three racing codes over the next two seasons, NZRB CEO John Allen pointed out. Across the codes the $12 million per annum allocation translates to $6.5 million to the thoroughbred code, $3.6 million to harness and $1.9 million to greyhounds.

“This will see distributions to the industry increased to a minimum of $148.2 million in 2017-18 and 2018-19 from the current baseline, in anticipation of the future financial benefits of NZRB’s key strategic work currently underway.”

“This reflects recent steps taken by all three racing codes to lift stakes – there is clear alignment across the industry on where we need to be focused and we are working closely with the codes to provide greater support to the entire racing industry.

“This additional funding will enable all industry participants to have greater confidence in the successful future of our industry,” he added.

The NZRB’s latest funding boost follows some three months after the $4.77 million Industry Enhancement Fund initiatives announced in January to support stakes, infrastructure and youth development.

“We have a clear focus on the projects we are delivering, good progress is being made and we are taking action to continue to lift returns to the industry over the coming two years while the benefits of our strategic initiatives are being brought to fruition,” concluded Glenda Hughes.