Laurie Sutherland

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About Laurie Sutherland

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  1. Laurie Sutherland

    Whats the WINNING formula to....

    NZTR supplies only a MINIMUM level of prize money. The vital issue though is that for the large majority of clubs the amount NZTR supplies each year is a whole lot LESS than the amounts the clubs have actually earned each year. The most ill-treated club in 2009/10 was paid some $307,000 LESS than it had earned through the betting volumes it had generated. More than 40 clubs were collectively short-paid some $4.4 millions that year - mostly on their 'industry' racedays. Each racing club pays out most of its income as prize money to the Owners who race their horses at club racemeetings. So it is the Owners who race at 'industry' meetings who are cheated/swindled out of the $4.4 millions worth of net profits which their horses have have attracted from wagerers. In my opinion this regular under-payment practice is identical to theft as defined in the NZ Crimes Act and in the Concise Oxford Dictionary. Plenty of others, including a senior barrister friend, agree. Racing and Golf There are several similarities, and differences- one major - between racing clubs and golf clubs in NZ:- Similarities: * both are recognised sporting activities * both were set up long ago by community enthusiast volunteers to bring the respective sports to, and for the benefit of, their own communities *each utilises a sizeable area of land and has one of more buildings for participants' use *all are organised as clubs and each is registered under the law as an Incorporated Society (except for a very small number of golf courses privately owned, e.g. Sir Michael Hill's golfcourse at Arrowtown) * every club is an individual sovereign entity, and each is subject to the laws of the land including taxation laws and the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 * the members and officeholders of each have their own rights, duties, and obligations *each club is registered with its respective regulating body - NZTR inc, HRNZ Inc, or NZGRA Inc for the racing codes, and the New Zealand Golf Association Inc for all the public golf clubs *in a 2008 Judgement the NZ Court of Appeal stated that the Committee/Officers of Incorporated Societies are obliged to treat all applications for membership fairly. It would seem to follow logically that applicants, on becoming members, should continue to enjoy the benefits of being treated fairly. The officers of NZTR Inc appear to have thumbed their noses at the Court of Appeal by treating the majority of their member clubs very unfairly to the tune of some $4.4 millions in the 2009/10 racing year alone. Perhaps they decided to resign en masse earlier in 2011 before someone brought prosecution proceedings against them? Differences * every golf club pays an affiliation fee to its regulating body, otherwise it keeps all its own earnings entirely for its own use as its own elected committee sees fit * a majority of thoroughbred racing clubs suffer a very important part of their off-course betting earnings being taken away by their own regulatory body, and given to a very small number of fellow member clubs which already enjoy various other financial benefits * there are currently 67 thoroughbred clubs, using 51 different venues. There are currently at least 400 golf clubs using at least 400 different venues * the officials who have been in charge of the affairs of the thoroughbred code are wondering why the people are showing a reluctance to participate and invest. To the best of my knowledge the golfing fraternity does not have that problem. Further Comment In New Zealand every practising lawyer is required to be a member of the New Zealand Law Society Inc. Imagine the screams of outrage if the Law Society decided to require lawyers in smaller centres to hand over up to 60 percent of their business incomes to NZLS so that it could gift that money to the biggest law firms in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, plus in a few other cities. Similarly with accountants and the NZ Society of Accountants, engineers, doctors, surveyers and many other who go about their business as a member of a regulatory body.
  2. Laurie Sutherland

    Whats the WINNING formula to....

    I'm sure there are plenty of small clubs making a lot of dollars every year. Their difficulty is that successive NZTR Boards have taken away (or maybe cheated, awindled, thieved, stolen, deliberately underpaid) them out of a very considerable part of the off-course betting profits these clubs racemeetings have generated. The NZTR Boards have long been controlled by the nominees of the few big-city clubs, and it is these clubs which are given the cash taken from the rightful earnings of the smaller, mainly rural/provincial, clubs. Statistics for 2009/10 are the most recent publicly available, and by calculating the profits the TAB collects on the various classes of betting turnovers (i.e., off-course FOB; off-course NZ racing; and overseas betting onto NZ races exported via TV to Australia and elsewhere), and then applying these profit rates to the betting turnovers generated by each individual club, it becomes possible to arrive at fairly accurate figures of the true earnings of each club. The 2009/10 figures show more than 40 NZ thoroughbred clubs were collectively underpaid more than $4 million for that year alone. Because all these clubs are robbed of so much of their rightful earnings, they in turn have no choice but to pay correspondingly less stakesmoney to the Owners (and to a lesser degree the Trainers) who race horses at these clubs' racemeetings - especially the so-called industry days. And on top of that, the NZTR Boards have been sharply lifting the amounts taken from the earnings of ALL NZTR clubs and gifted as a cash contribution to Group and Listed races. For G1 races, for example, the amount taken from all clubs' earnings ( in proportion to their off-course turnovers) has skyrocketed from $40,000 per G1 race in 2003, to $60,000, to $80,000 and currently to $200,000, with G2s, G3s and Listeds being increased in line. If you will send me your FAX address, or Email address, I will be happy to send you some details - 7pp + 2pp, also some other info 2pp + 5pp. My FAX is 03 2189859.
  3. Laurie Sutherland

    State of our industry

    The Greyhound code can take a lot of satisfaction as to its performances compared to the other two codes over the last 20 years. However, and without knowing the full background, it seems to me the policies of GRNZ in more recent times have been unfairly harsh on both Wairarapa and Manawatu GRCs. 2006/07 seems to be the last season that Wairarapa raced its customary 5 meetings a year. For that season the club attracted an average 102 starters per meeting, compared with the code average of 96. Its On-course turnovers averaged $16,000 per day (from RB figures), compared to the code average of $10,340. Its Off-course average was $344k per day, compared to the code average of $370k. I do not know whether or not the club's allocated dates would be regarded as average, or below or better than average. Manawatu GRC, for the 2008/09 season was allocated almost entirely low-profile Monday weekday dates by GRNZ. Its average Off-course at $213k per day was, as a result, well below the code average of $334k. It does seem the Club was paid by GRNZ a slightly higher rate of commission/payout on its Off-course turnovers, BUT, not nearly enough to compensate for the lower Monday figures. On the basis that, with an average mix of racedates, this Club might be expected to have achieved an average of, say, $313k, and then been paid at around the code average payout rate, this Club would have received around $200,000 additional payout for the season. Whether that would be enough to keep it solvent I do not know, but it must surely have been a big help. Fair dealing, with ALL their member Clubs is a fundamental obligation upon each Code Governing Body, in my opinion, and is in respect of all Incorporated Societies probably also a fiduciary duty at law.
  4. Laurie Sutherland

    Thankfully there are other takeout idiots!

    A former Minister for Racing once told me, with a definite element of seriousness, that it wouldn't make any difference to turnovers if the takeout rate was 50%. The Minister's reasoning: almost everyone making a bet was confident that bet would result in a profitable dividend. From experience, I was not able to agree!
  5. Laurie Sutherland

    Ways forward for NZ thoroughbred racing

    Leggy - apology for delayed reply. The procedures for appointing the Chair do seem rather vague. More clear-cut for the other 6 members. Sec. 11(1) of the Act states:- "Membership of governing body The governing body consists of 7 members, acceptable to the Minister, as follows: (a) an independent chairperson appointed by the Minister after consultation with the racing industry; and (, ©, (d) abbreviated, one person appointed by the Minister from nominations of each of the three Codes; and (e) 3 persons appointed by the Minister on the advice of the nomination advisory panel referred to in Sec. 12 ...." But, back to the Chair. The Minister must appoint a Chairperson after consultation with the racing industry. The term 'racing industry' is not defined by the Act, and so helps cause the vagueness. In practice I understand the Minister publicly invites nominations for the Chairmanship, after which he informs all the recognised racing organisations the names of those nominated, then waits a reasonable time for any comments, then decides who to appoint. Getting to the current situation, Mr Stiassny's predecessor as Chair was Mr Warren Larsen, whose 3-year term expired on 31 July 2006. The then Minister (Rt Hon W Peters) invited nominations. Mr Larsen was re-nominated (I don't know by whom), and to the best of my memory the only other nominee was Mr Stiassny - nominated solely by the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Assn. The 'racing industry' was then given opportunity to comment, and after an unusually long time the Minister chose Mr Stiassny and appointed him with effect from 1st January 2007. Upon learning that his then boss was not re-appointed, Mr Allan Jackson (as an independent member of the Board, saw fit to resign as from 31 December 2006.
  6. Laurie Sutherland

    Ways forward for NZ thoroughbred racing

    Guess who nominated him - the NZ Thoroughbred Breeders Assn,as their sole nominee
  7. Laurie Sutherland

    Hawera at Easter

    According to NZ Racing Board statistics for 2009/10 the Hawera club compares quite favourably:- Average Starters per Day Hawera 146.5 (5th highest of 47 clubs) Code Average 113.1 Waikouaiti 155 (highest club) Average Off-course per Day (excl FOB) Hawera 738.5k Code Average 743.7k Geraldine 1250.0k (highest) Auckland TC 896k NZMetro TC 930.6 Cbge-Te Awamutu 711.7 Taranaki TC 536.5 Stratford TC 571 Wanganui TC 639 Average On-course per day Hawera 73.5k Code Average 83.5 Kaikoura 406 (highest) Auckland TC 169.6 NZ Metro TC 140.9 Cbge-Te Awamutu 54.7 Taranaki TC 40.0 Stratford TC 59.0 Wanganui TC 38.0.
  8. Laurie Sutherland

    $3oo,ooo=00

    I seem to recall our code's share of Winston's largesse was allocated to: the 2000 Guineas the Railway the Telegraph the NZ Derby. Can anyone remember how much went to each of these? Thanks.
  9. Laurie Sutherland

    Funding

    For 2009/10 the NZRB paid to Govt net GST of $30.3m, at the then rate of 12.5 percent. At Mr English's new rate of 15.0 percent the $30.3m rises to $36.36m for a full year - a cash cost to the NZRB and Racing of $6.06m.
  10. Laurie Sutherland

    WonRacing in a different guise....

    Midget, the crucial difference is that General Schwarzkkopf NEVER ordered his foot-soldiers, his GI's, to hand over 20%, or 25%, or 30% of their incomes to General S for the direct financial benefit of him and his mates. Our Thoroughbred Racing Board does exactly that! And more and more foot-soldier clubs and owners are thoroughly sick of being cheated and swindled of some $4 millions a year in this dishonest way.
  11. Laurie Sutherland

    a simple question for NZTR...

    NZTR latest Annual Report says, as at 31/7/09, their Integrity Committee was Peter Hutt (Chairman) (Timaru), Denis Ryan (Matamata) and David Smith (Waikato RC) Members.
  12. Laurie Sutherland

    Small Club Assoc. Not Happy with Sargent, Stiassy, Sutherland

    GO! Of the three SS men Mr A Sutherland has been longest in a position of official influence. He joined the then Racing Industry Board during 1996/97. Prior to his arrival the thoroughbred code had a turnover of $524.781m (on-course $63.242m + off-course $461.539m. No fixed odds at that time). The RIB's Annual Report for 1996/97 contained on its inside front cover the statement "The NZRIB is committed to making racing New Zealand's most popular sport by 2005". That statement was repeated on the outside back cover of the 1997/98 Report. And the results show? Thoroughbred code's turnover for 2004/05 was DOWN to $443.578 (on-course $45.476m + off-course $398.082m incl low-profit FOB of $8.768m). Mr A Sutherland continued on the Racing Board. The latest code turnovers 2008/09 show a total up slightly to $465.924m (on-course $46.606m + off-course $419.318 incl a big increase in low-profit FOB up to $42.120m). This seems to me pretty convincing proof that, at least so far as the thoroughbred code is concerned, Mr A Sutherland and his fellow Board Members of 96/97 and 97/98 HAVE FAILED IN THEIR COMMITTMENT and should no longer hold office. PS Interestingly, one of NZ's three racing codes did succeed in substantially increasing its participation and turnovers in the years since 96/97, and the other has broadly held its ground. Only the thoroughbred code has lost ground and has lost market share of the very important NZ betting on NZ races. And these facts should lead all concerned stakeholders to examine the policies of the three Code Governing Bodies over the period and to look for the differences that might explain the obvious drop in thoroughbred participation. I will put forward my opinions in a later post.
  13. Laurie Sutherland

    How many horses does

    We would certainly expect that Mr Stiassny at least owns NO raceable horses and NO raceable greyhounds. The primary requirement for every chairperson of the NZ Racing Board is INDEPENDENCE - that the person be independent upon appointment, and stay independent at all times while holding the office. This means the chairperson should have, and be seen to have, no bias or favouritism towards any code or to any sector (e.g. top, middle, or bottom) of any code. The chairperson has a duty to be independent and remain independent. If the chairperson does anything to compromise his/her independence then the Minister has a moral and legal duty on behalf of Parliament to see him/her either regain independence, or to dismiss him/her from the chairmanship. Schedule I, Sec. 3(2) of the Racing Act gives the Minister full authority and power to do this:- "The Minister may, ...., remove the member from office at any time, without compensation, for inability to perform the duties of office, bankruptcy, neglect of duty, or misconduct, .....