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The Provisional Order Paper for Parliament for Tuesday 23 June gives an indication that the NZ Racing Industry Bill will have its second reading tomorrow.
Bill Colgan
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The Provisional Order Paper for Parliament for Tuesday 23 June gives an indication that the NZ Racing Industry Bill will have its second reading tomorrow.

The Rt Hon Winston Peters, pictured, will present the bill for its second reading.The report of the Transport and Infrastructure Committee presented their report on 8 June 2020 with many positive changes to the Racing Industry Bill. It does appear that there is still the potential for a bureaucratic and expensive Racing Integrity Board.

The second reading of the Racing Industry Bill will provide an insight as to the final bill and if the recommendations of the Select Committee will be adopted. This is a critical phase for many clubs who may be under threat of no racedate allocation, resulting in closure and assets transferred to the code authority. Here is a brief snapshot of one view of the bill proposed by the Select Committee.

Changes to the original bill that  seem to offer  an improvement from a club perspective.

  • The allocation of IP rights to TAB NZ has been removed with deletion of Section 81 so that should enable the Codes/Clubs being involved in commercial agreements for racing information and entitles the Clubs to use the racing data themselves without seeking authority to use the IP from RITA. This is probably the biggest positive change as it enables NZTR/Clubs to have the option to negotiate independently of the other Codes or TAB NZ.
  • There are examples of explicit requirements for increased consultation in a number of areas. This may not change the result but provides for at least a greater sense of engagement. Examples included below.
    • NZTR to engage with smaller clubs and annual report to include report on measures adopted to involve “small racing clubs” (defined as having 3 or less race meetings)
    • TAB NZ must provide at least 15 working days for consultation on  SOI and business plans.
  • All Hunt Clubs are exempt from the sections related to transfer of assets.
  • Racing betting redefined to specify inclusion of exchange and spread betting.
  • Formal dispute resolution process for dis-agreements in section 120AA. An agreed arbitrator or one selected by institute with binding decision on matters such as Racing Integrity Board budget, distribution and commercial agreements between TAB NZ and codes. Removes need for section 12 and 13 where Minister could take over functions or appoint a commissioner to resolve disputes.
  • Changes to the Racing Club Sections 19 through to 27 relating to clubs no longer racing, transfer of assets and dissolution of clubs may not change the outcomes but will provide for consultation, a potential independent view and a compulsory process that a club can engage with NZTR if there is a disputed outcome. There is also a right of appeal of the decision for no longer racing, with that period extended from one year to two. Also specifies if any assets transferred, NZTR must maintain a property investment strategy.
  • Racing Integrity Board members reduced from seven to five with Minister considering nominations from codes and TAB NZ, but still appointed by Minister and limited racing knowledge at Board level.
  • RIB funding still from TAB NZ but requires Minister approval after consultation with codes.
  • Positive changes in the appointment process for governing board of TAB NZ with a selection panel with Codes being able nominate three of the seven members.
  • Authority for TAB NZ to conduct race meetings has been withdrawn with deletion of Section 65.
  • Section 100 gives potential for delegation by DIA for its offshore betting powers to a body such as a racing code. Potential only but a step in the right direction.

 

Alarm Bells Ringing - there are clauses that need clarification and/or refinement to achieve a lower cost model or the desired separation of wagering and racing controls.

  • Potential for high cost structure of RIB being maintained and further blown out. No change to RIB members attending raceday and extensive detailing of functions that overlaps with NZTR’s or RNZ role of welfare, veterinary services, and substance testing. Same challenge exists about separation of compliance and adjudication functions as per previous version of bill. Seems that the draft writers needed somewhere for some of NZRB’s functions to be covered by some authority.
  • Section 37 still has TAB NZ empowered to oversee the budget of the RIB when it should be the codes. TAB NZ is simply allocating part of its profits to the RIB so can’t see any reason for the budget details needing approval by TAB NZ. The size of the budget for RIB impacts on the Codes distribution and the level of integrity impacts on participation of engagement with a Code so the Codes have the vested interest to get it right- cost effective without compromise.
  • Insufficient separation of racing involvement by TAB NZ as per Section 56 and 57 about the racing calendar. Changes introduces a jointly selected by Codes, a member of the Dates Committee which is a token racing representative. The Dates Committee should not be involved in deciding the club or venue simply the type of betting licence it is offering or not.
  • No change to the distribution clause with the Minister still empowered under Section 63 to regulate the distribution to each code, Sports and Recreation NZ and retained by TAB NZ for harm minimisation. Any reference to the old Section 16 about turnover shares has been deleted and this makes the allocation potentially a very political decision subject to lobbying by racing codes, Sport and Recreation NZ and anti-gambling groups.
  • Similar problem with Section 111 that empowers DIA to use monies raised from consumption charges to cover costs of administration of the charges, harm minimisation, integrity issues and the very general “promoting the long-term viability of NZ racing and sports”.

 

 

 

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