The Minister of Racing Nathan Guy made a political speech complimenting the Racing Board on its splendid performance.
Glenda Hughes, the Chair of the Racing Board, outlined what the hard-working Racing Board was achieving. She didn’t really go into specifics except to say the Board was doing its best to improve things.
John Allen, the CEO of the Racing Board gave a very upbeat motivational address. He quoted figures and achievements and noted that his wage was $650,000 per annum.
I asked if the Board was getting more than 4% on its investments. He wasn’t certain. He was asked if the Codes were to get any extra out of a billion dollar turnover but that question remained unanswered as well.
I asked if the Racing Board still thought that there were too many clubs and racing tracks. In a round about way, the answer to that was….yes.
In a statement to the TAB I wondered what the impact had been on the the loss of Free View T.V. including the alienation of thousands of small punters. I said that the last thing we need is to turn off punters…big or small. There was no comment to that.
I was surprised to hear that Kristy McDonald, the Chair of the JCA is leaving. Kristy did a great job in fine tuning the JCA across the country. There is still room for improvement which could include the JCA dealing with small meetings via video links. She has been “high” on integrity.
Mike Godber, the RIU Operations Manager also spoke about integrity and how important it is. When I asked about certain instances of “Conflict of Interest” He said he had no problem with a person being a stipe, a starter and an investigator. I do have a problem with that situation and in my eyes one person acting in all those roles could lead to a question of integrity. Perception in these matters is so important.
Andrew Kelly, from HR Australia, when commenting on the hefty import fee on NZ horses bound for Australia, said that the import fee has always been there. He said that they had ramped it up in support of their breeding industry. He made a comment that the NZ website Harnesslink was rubbish.
Andrew Grierson, Veterinary Adviser to the equine codes noted that cortico-steroids can only be injected into a horse’s joints 8 days prior to racing. Alkalising agents can only be administered 1 clear day prior to racing. He also spoke on cobalt and TCO2.
Stu Cashen from Health and Safety gave an update on reforms that are taking place. These will impact on Clubs and Tracks. There cannot be any short cuts….these changes will have to be implemented.
Ken Boddy and Devon Menon [Financial Consultants] presented a Review of the Clubs’ Financial Statements. They reviewed the annual reports of all clubs over the last five years. There were 5 clubs deemed “high risk”. This has now grown to 15 clubs.
Vision for the Future with regards to Regional Super Club Structure. Basically this structure will enable the Super Clubs to set their own race dates for their regions. Regional meetings will be held with Conference staff in the near future.
There was a Panel Discussion and Open Forum on “The State of the Industry”.
John Mooney from the NZSBA introduced some very sobering statistics. He said that the Handicapping System was broken and that rather than plastering over an old problem, we needed a new system.
Graham Cooney, a member of the Racing Board is also on the Board of the Rugby Union. He thought that following along the same lines as the Union could provide a solution but I’m personally not sure what that would involve.
Kerry Hoggard ATC/HRNZ Board. Outlined what the ATC was doing with regards to their building plans and the taking out of a $250 million loan.
Rule 403 [2A] Injecting joints to be 8 clear days prior to racing…..Passed.
Rule 1004[6A] Administering an alkalising agent to be 1 clear day prior to racing,
Trials or workouts ……was lost.
I feel that these were the main points of the Conference.
On the Friday morning prior to the start of the Conference there was a meeting of representatives of the NZTOA with HRNZ CEO Edward Rennell and Ken Boddy about the future of our Association.
With the help of HRNZ we hope to contact every owner that has an email address on the HRNZ Data Base. This will be in the form of a questionaire as to which direction the Association will take. We will keep you informed of developments on this website.