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B De Lore on the Messara appointment

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Today’s Avondale 2yo Fillies Race is worth $14,000. In 2008 this race was run for a stake of $55,000. This situation is a snapshot of the state of racing in NZ. John Messara and Winston Peters have a herculean task in turning the racing industry around. If they fail to do so the future is extremely bleak.

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Racing Minister Winston Peters is determined to get it right, starting with the Messara Report.

MESSARA REPORT WILL BE THE JOB ONLY HALF DONE

27 April 2018

Story by Brian de Lore / The Informant

Benjamin Franklin once said nothing is certain in this life except death and taxes, but in view of events in New Zealand racing over the past couple of weeks a major overhaul of our industry also looms large as an over-the-line certainty.

Arrowfield Stud boss and former chairman of Racing NSW and Racing Australia John Messara is more than a week into compiling his report ahead of forming recommendations that will be delivered to and then adopted by Minister for Racing Winston Peters.

After conducting his due diligence on Messara and then making the appointment, it is unlikely to be followed by debate over the recommendations. Peters knows that Messara has the track record, the experience and know-how to do the job, and it would be naïve to believe the Minister would do anything outside the Messara recommendations.

But once the report has been handed to Peters, the involvement of Messara realistically cannot end at that point in time. The fix will have to be put into practice and who better to do it than Messara himself, which is what happened at Racing NSW in collaboration with CEO Peter V’landys. Completion of the report is a job only half done; implementation is the second phase.

Messara said recently: “In the end, it’s all about personnel. You can have all the right structures for governance, but you need the right personnel in key places or it won’t work.”

And for that reason Peters should appoint Messara as the new Chairman of the NZRB, at least for an interim period as the new board is installed and the industry is reshaped.

Let’s be realistic, the current board members will be gone by the back half of July so the Messara blank sheet of paper strategy, which obviously appealed to Peters and had something to do with the Messara appointment, can be carried through to a satisfactory conclusion. The Minister has that power and it would be delusional to believe otherwise – the way forward has to begin with a completely new board at the NZRB.

Peters wants to leave a legacy for racing and as previously stated; what he is putting in place now will be there to survive succeeding governments and be functional in 10 years’ time and beyond. Messara is unfamiliar with failure and between the two it’s very hard to believe either will consider the job complete until the agenda is not only finalised but set in concrete.

Already NZRB board member Alistair Ryan of Sky City Entertainment has resigned. Greg McCarthy has stated he will not be seeking re-election after serving five years and it will be nothing but a major surprise if chair Glenda Hughes doesn’t tender her resignation before July.

The Messara report and its findings will be wasted if the wrong people are seconded onto the board and a new management team is not up to an unprecedented standard for better governance – a state of industry position we have been sadly lacking. We have a history that chronicles numerous failures and this might be our last chance to get it right.

Messara’s impartiality offers the perfect opportunity to eliminate some of the cronyism in racing that has been prevalent here for years. He is coming in from the outside and therefore will not have preconceived notions or bias about finding the right person/s, and we need a CEO that possesses racing savvy and an uncompromising approach to the task – in the mould of Messara and V’landys themselves.

What we don’t want to hear anymore is that narrow-minded parochialism about Australians; we just want the best person for the job and if that means the best candidate comes from Timbuktu then so be it. Imported CEOs have a poor record but that’s more a symptom of the selection process rather than the origin of the incumbent.

Some years ago when outsourcing of the TAB was first mooted, then Racing Minister Nathan Guy said it would never happen under his watch – for what reason other than a reluctance to be part of an Australian institution is unknown.

Outsourcing the FOB platform to Tabcorp might be achieved for the $6 million to $7 million per annum that RWWA’s is said to be paying instead of the $30 million plus $17 million a year commitment we are tied to under the current NZRB strategy. Outsourcing is simply about sharing the Tabcorp technology already in place and taking full advantage of the $120 million/year that organisation spends on IT development rather than doing it ourselves.

The NZRB this month relented and with NZTR has now formed a steering committee to investigate outsourcing – too little too late. It should have happened years ago. The horse has bolted with the stable door wide open.

The business model that the NZRB has been pursuing has been out of date ever since globalisation took hold in the betting world a decade or more ago. We ultra-conservative Kiwis have been too slow to recognise and embrace the global picture just as we were in the early 1990s when some leaders in our breeding industry decried the then new practice of shuttling stallions. We were soon left behind and our speed out of the barrier is still in catch-up mode.

And today, thinking that we could afford to build our own FOB betting platform at massive cost and then compete with the big, powerful global players just to secure the domestic market alone borders on lunacy. That thinking could only be the product of the insular minds of people with no understanding of the meaning of the word scale.

But while it’s not hard to find evidence in the smorgasbord of NZRB faults and excesses that Messara will be currently examining, don’t forget that the erosion of our industry over the past dozen years or so has also taken place under the watch of thoroughbred code governing body NZTR.

Under the NZTR Statutory Role, Section 23 of the Racing Act 2003, clause four which is headed ‘Participate in the Racing Board’s Governance and Decision Making,’ (b) (1) says ‘consult with the Racing Board about the Board’s business plan’ while (b) (iii) says ‘consult with the Racing Board on the terms of reference for performance and efficiency audits of the Racing Board.’

NZTR has simply not been strong enough. Over the said period of time they have watched passively rather than objected loudly, and allowed themselves to be bullied by the NZRB which has taken full advantage of the wording of the Act. Instead of marshalling the Trainers’ Association, the Breeders’ Association and what’s now left of the Owners’ Association into some type of action, they adopted the ‘look-on’ approach and now we’ve had to hire a trouble-shooter.

Henceforth, how exactly the Messara rejig of this business will be shaped is something no-one really knows at this time. While his head is no doubt buried in annual reports, submissions, etc., he won’t be making statements and will remain silent until his completed report is delivered to the Minister.

But we do know from previous discussions that he believes we are overburdened with one level of administration too many, we are far too expensive to run, management of the finances should revert back to the codes and that in the end it comes back to the quality of the personnel. That was an overview from Karaka Sales time but whether or not all these beliefs will still hold true through to the completion of the report is the burning question.

Personnel has been a sticky issue in the past but New Zealanders who could be part of the future of our racing include lawyer Mark Freeman who is chairman of the NZTR Pattern Committee and the son of one of our most successful administrators in Bill Freeman, and Dean McKenzie, who has an impressive record of success where ever he’s been.

McKenzie is now something of a wasted talent to racing employed in the food industry, but previously he was CEO of the Metropolitan Trotting Club at Addington for six years, that despite his background from an early age in thoroughbreds in Southland, where he qualified as an accountant.

He became racing manager of the Southland Racing Club at an early age, moved to Avondale a week before the club went into receivership but nevertheless made a sound contribution, and then did four years as CEO of the Wellington Racing Club, another four years as CEO of Christchurch’s Jade Stadium, and another four years as Executive Director of Esportif International.

McKenzie is the most recent appointee to the Board of NZTR, but he is someone racing needs to get back full-time. Likewise, Freeman understands racing and should at least be utilised at Board level.

These are just two suggestions to enhance the future of New Zealand racing. My knowledge of them is limited but it demonstrates that New Zealand does have the expertise to make a significant contribution to the industry’s future and get our best people into governance. Others are certain to be on the periphery, and Messara must be made aware of them all.

To read this and other important industry stories in The Informant each week

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Rodney Schick Says now is the time to re-enter the market

81504-Informant.JPG

30 APR 2018 | BY BRIAN DE LORE

Windsor Park Stud boss Rodney Schick says now’s the time for breeders to reenter the market and John Messara is the medicine needed for a resurgence of the racing and breeding industries. 

“Messara is here for the right reasons,” Schick told The Informant, “and from our viewpoint the only way we can go is upwards. There is no other option for the industry; he doesn’t have a record of failure and he won’t want to fail here.” 

Windsor Park has been one of New Zealand most successful thoroughbred nurseries over many years but like all commercial breeders in recent years the ranks of broodmare owners are depleted and in the spring of 2018 we are expecting fewer foals than any season in the past
40 years.

From a high of just under 6,000 foals in 1988, here we are 30 years later expecting a foal-crop of little more than 3,000. But despite the lean years in recent times, Schick is optimistic about the positives Messara might bring to New Zealand.

“If he can save the NZRB costs and lift our prize-money to a level that’s sustainable for our owners and trainers to continue then that’s what we want,” Schick enthused. “John Messara has a lifetime of business and breeding experience so he has a real understanding of this business."

“One of his strengths is not being influenced by other people – he’s a strong leader and his record is one of achievement. He may not have been the most popular man in New South Wales but
he has come up with the results – look at how their racing is at the moment."

“If we don’t create this thing now the studs are not going to be able to buy the stallions in the future. It’s a prime opportunity for people to invest right now because if Messara’s fixes the problem you don’t want to be left behind – and it’s time to move now – we have to move now or it will be too late.”

Schick and his wife Gina bought into the Windsor Park business 12 years ago but even with stallions in the earlier years such as Montjeu, High Chaparral, Thorn Park and Volksraad, the industry was still only straight-lining.

“The last few years we have really seen a huge decline, and that’s not just us but the industry as a whole has declined – our broodmare numbers are down.

“I still think we have an acceptable product but the core problem for me is the domestic market,” continued Schick. “If we could sell our product back into New Zealand – and the only way we will see that fixed is by increased prize-money.

“If the trainers can make a better living it will certainly provide them with more confidence to go and bid on our horses. We will have more activity with more prize-money. I see trainer confidence as an issue that needs addressing.”

Windsor Park Stud has a proud history dating back to the times of Silver Dream and Star Way and with new stallions coming on such as Turn Me Loose, Mongolian Khan and Charm Spirit, Schick is not only looking optimistically at their future but has every faith in New Zealand continuing
as a high quality thoroughbred nursery.

“I’m very positive about what we still produce,” said Schick. “We bat above our average all the time; we produce very good horses and people. The people who have learned on our farms are some of the most knowledgeable people around, for hands-on practical people we are as
good as anywhere else in the world.

“We haven’t been able to buy the same thoroughbred genetics that Australia’s been able to buy but we outperform our genetics because of our people and our environment. But we still have to have the ability to reinvest and at this stage, right now, we are trying very hard in difficult
circumstances.”

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24 minutes ago, 2Admin2 said:

The "brain of NZ Racing" can you tell us what needs to be done to sort out NZ breeding industry?

Not sure who you’re talking to but if it’s me let me assure you I’m not a commercial breeder and I know virtually nothing about that business.

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45 minutes ago, poundforpound said:

Not sure who you’re talking to but if it’s me let me assure you I’m not a commercial breeder and I know virtually nothing about that business.

You seem to have replied to a post that isn't here? Did you make it up?

Had to shed a tear for Roddy. The breeders have dictated what happened to NZ Racing for the last decade or so. Now they are sorry?

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34 minutes ago, Leggy said:

You seem to have replied to a post that isn't here? Did you make it up?

Had to shed a tear for Roddy. The breeders have dictated what happened to NZ Racing for the last decade or so. Now they are sorry?

The post I replied to is within my post.

I concur with the delicious irony in Roddy’s article ( although I don’t think the Schick family is particularly  politically active or self absorbed ) and of course Garry ( two R’s ) is orchestrating the show, it’s hilarious watching the rats climbing back onto the sinking ship because The Messiah is apparently going to walk across The Tasman and bring prosperity and good fortune with him.....silly fucking idiots are a dime a dozen in this game aren’t they ? 

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Other than Mr. Peters' Messara announcement, the last I saw officially on this was the below. Does anyone know or has anyone seen or heard ....

(a) whether Winston has bothered to reply to the January and March letters from the Primary Production committee? I note that the report date for the committee remains as 2 July.

or (b) what amendments to the bill they recommended to the Minister following the completion of hearing submissions in December?

Delay to the Racing Amendment Bill

Friday, 2 March 2018, 4:21 pm
Press Release: Office of the Clerk

Delay to the Racing Amendment Bill

The Primary Production Committee is currently considering the Racing Amendment Bill. The bill seeks to amend the Racing Act 2003 to implement a range of provisions that are designed to:
• improve the competiveness of the New Zealand Racing Board's betting operations
• introduce new requirements on offshore betting operators
• provide for regulations on revising the formula for allocating proceeds from sports betting between the racing and sports sectors.

The committee wishes to notify the racing industry that progress on this bill is currently awaiting direction from the Minister for Racing. The committee has worked to progress its role quickly including hearing submissions during a shortened consultation period in November/December 2017. Advisers from the Department of Internal Affairs reported to the Minister in late December.

We wrote to the Minister on 25 January requesting that advice be provided to committee by officials providing recommendations for amendments to the bill, but we have yet to receive this.

The committee has written to the Minister again today reiterating the need for haste for this advice. The committee is seeking an extension on the report date for this bill as a result of this delay.

The committee will continue to endeavour to report back to the House of Representatives as soon as possible.

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2 hours ago, Leggy said:

Other than Mr. Peters' Messara announcement, the last I saw officially on this was the below. Does anyone know or has anyone seen or heard ....

(a) whether Winston has bothered to reply to the January and March letters from the Primary Production committee? I note that the report date for the committee remains as 2 July.

or (b) what amendments to the bill they recommended to the Minister following the completion of hearing submissions in December?

Delay to the Racing Amendment Bill

Friday, 2 March 2018, 4:21 pm
Press Release: Office of the Clerk

Delay to the Racing Amendment Bill

The Primary Production Committee is currently considering the Racing Amendment Bill. The bill seeks to amend the Racing Act 2003 to implement a range of provisions that are designed to:
• improve the competiveness of the New Zealand Racing Board's betting operations
• introduce new requirements on offshore betting operators
• provide for regulations on revising the formula for allocating proceeds from sports betting between the racing and sports sectors.

The committee wishes to notify the racing industry that progress on this bill is currently awaiting direction from the Minister for Racing. The committee has worked to progress its role quickly including hearing submissions during a shortened consultation period in November/December 2017. Advisers from the Department of Internal Affairs reported to the Minister in late December.

We wrote to the Minister on 25 January requesting that advice be provided to committee by officials providing recommendations for amendments to the bill, but we have yet to receive this.

The committee has written to the Minister again today reiterating the need for haste for this advice. The committee is seeking an extension on the report date for this bill as a result of this delay.

The committee will continue to endeavour to report back to the House of Representatives as soon as possible.

What is our Racing Minister up to - hasn't replied to the committee in 3 months on one of his key planks of change, and is it just me but is he missing in action totally at the moment ??

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55 minutes ago, chelseacol said:

What is our Racing Minister up to - hasn't replied to the committee in 3 months on one of his key planks of change, and is it just me but is he missing in action totally at the moment ??

My wonderings exactly chelseacol. The PPC has attempted to progress the legislation with urgency presumably at the behest of the NZRB and/or the Minister. The DIA provided two comprehensive impact statements on the legislation and reported to him in December.

https://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/Files/Racing-Amendment-Bill-Regulatory-Impact-Statement/$file/Regulatory-Impact-Statement-Offshore-racing-and-sports-betting.pdf

https://sportnz.org.nz/assets/Uploads/Regulatory-Impact-Statement-Sport-NZ-Sports-betting-apportionment-formula.pdf

Why has he only now responded by retaining an external reviewer not due to report for another 3 months? Why have the PPC recommendations to amend the legislation not been made public and widely discussed with the industry? Will he sit on the Messara report for 3 months before making it available or doing anything with it as well?

Or, have I missed something?

I'm beginning to believe P4P's assessment of his usefulness in this or in fact any political role. Wtf is he doing?

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My impeccable sources say he didn’t negotiate a strong Racing policy with Labour, unlike 2003 when he made it a cornerstone of his coalition.

It’s most likely due to two things, firstly the fact he knew he was betraying his centre right industry sponsors, he’d got what he wanted from them and owed the industry nothing, his focus this time was on regional development and Shane Jones to guarantee his NZF parties future, and secondly because The Greens were a critical part of this arrangement, outside of the coalition, and they won’t support preferential support for Racing.

Because of those two things Winston is said to be snookered now, so he’s buying time by not pushing ahead with the amended bill, and by appointing the Messiah.

My sources say he’ll most likely sit on the Messiah report for two and a half years making all manner of excuses along the way, and of course send the amended bill back to select committee.

This might not be a bad thing though, I doubt much good can come of “getting into bed” with Winston, he’s too toxic and the other parties hate the fact Racing is so aligned with him. We’d be better off to start working with National and the new center Green Party ( did I say that !!! ) to develop a strategy to ensure we use our assets more effectively, and that we have a clear direction forward that doesn’t involve wasting money on stakes or whiskey.

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It seems the Race Fields legislation is being totally rewritten and will be lucky to go through this year.

I totally agree and worry that WP will sit and dilly dally until close to the next election and then come across the Knight in Shining Armour as he attempts to get the new Act through and then there's still no guarantee.

A major concern is that whoever was involved in writing the previous legislation seems to be so far removed from reality that surely they should also be held to account.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Leggy said:

Other than Mr. Peters' Messara announcement, ....

(a) report date for the committee remains as 2 July.

 

The Primary Production Committee is currently considering the Racing Amendment Bill. The bill seeks to amend the Racing Act 2003 to implement a range of provisions that are designed to:
• improve the competiveness of the New Zealand Racing Board's betting operations
• introduce new requirements on offshore betting operators
• provide for regulations on revising the formula for allocating proceeds from sports betting between the racing and sports sectors.

result of this delay.

The committee will continue to endeavour to report back to the House of Representatives as soon as possible.

 

3 hours ago, Leggy said:

 

Why has he only now responded by retaining an external reviewer not due to report for another 3 months? Why have the PPC recommendations to amend the legislation not been made public and widely discussed with the industry? Will he sit on the Messara report for 3 months before making it available or doing anything with it as well?

Or, have I missed something?

I'm beginning to believe P4P's assessment of his usefulness in this or in fact any political role. Wtf is he doing?

 

2 hours ago, poundforpound said:

Winston is snookered now, he’s buying time by not pushing ahead with the amended bill, and by appointing the Messiah.

he’ll most likely sit on the Messiah report for two and a half years making all manner of excuses along the way, and of course send the amended bill back to select committee.

This might not be a bad thing though, I doubt much good can come of “getting into bed” with Winston, he’s too toxic and the other parties hate the fact Racing is so aligned with him. We’d be better off to start working with National and the new center Green Party ( did I say that !!! ) to develop a strategy to ensure we use our assets more effectively, and that we have a clear direction forward that doesn’t involve wasting money on stakes or whiskey.

Sorry to have doctored your posts guys,

But,  I am hoping that Winston finally supports his voters who have put faith in him to Improve the Racing Industry.

Yes he went with the National Party when he "got in to bed" with them ... 

Now in bed with the neighbours and enlisting the help of "the Messiah"

Lets hope it can be passed, big cuts made where needed and the Industry brought back to its former glory ! (somehow, if not too late) 

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15 minutes ago, John Clydesdale said:

What makes you think Winston will even be in Parliament at the next election?

You’re a good judge so explain your rhetorical question to us please.

My bets would be as follows;

Retires due to ill health $1.05

Forced into retirement after coalition breakdown $2.00

Makes it to the next election and the voters give him what he deserves $1.10

Enters into love triangle ( with ) and goes to live in Rarotonga with Jacinda and Clarke $2.85

None of the above $10.00

 

 

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28 minutes ago, John Clydesdale said:

What makes you think Winston will even be in Parliament at the next election?

I never mentioned that John !...hoping he can do the bisso , sorting the new racing act.

Whether he gets the support needed is another issue, at least he had a go.

 

32 minutes ago, John Clydesdale said:

What makes you think Winston will even be in Parliament at the next election?

think he would have had enough of the circus by then.(what odds om offer?)

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1 hour ago, poundforpound said:

You’re a good judge so explain your rhetorical question to us please.

My bets would be as follows;

Retires due to ill health $1.05

Forced into retirement after coalition breakdown $2.00

Makes it to the next election and the voters give him what he deserves $1.10

Enters into love triangle ( with ) and goes to live in Rarotonga with Jacinda and Clarke $2.85

None of the above $10.00

 

 

Do you have a limit to how much you would take on the love triangle option?

And do you ban winning punters?

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11 minutes ago, Leggy said:

Do you have a limit to how much you would take on the love triangle option?

And do you ban winning punters?

Technical error there.

Jacinda’s going to hatch something in June ( given the alleged parents it’ll have a fucking big umbilical cord and it’ll never stand on its own two feet ) so it’ll be a quadrangle of sorts, that’ll mean all winning bets will be cancelled on a technicality but all losing bets will stand.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, poundforpound said:

Technical error there.

Jacinda’s going to hatch something in June ( given the alleged parents it’ll have a fucking big umbilical cord and it’ll never stand on its own two feet ) so it’ll be a quadrangle of sorts, that’ll mean all winning bets will be cancelled on a technicality but all losing bets will stand.

 

 

Yes, that's a technical problem that emerges from allowing some people (notably your parents) to breed.

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Bookmakers odds P4P as you carded, but the second favourite is my choice and will be the impact. The evangalist from up North will not be able to control the remote and such incineration will ensure that racing struggles to gain a profile.

Lets get the reform in our industry that the Australian banking system is currently going to endure, and get rid of the govt wallies that drive the industry at the mo. They feel they know what the industry wants, bollocks to that. They meet at the Astoria in Lambton Quay and conjure up ideas that are bereft of process and progress for an industry that is not at all romantic and fetching to the Wadestown or Khandallah mob. J Allen is looking for another role as you read this, but the Colgate girl will struggle to find a spot for a ham fisted intellectual that could not put his trailer on the tow bar to take his successes to the tip.

J Allen is smart enough, but has the charisma of a hair clip and the common sense of a 5 day dated horse dropping. Murray McCully and the dips showed him common sense, but we struggle to do so. As for the chair, the only thing she can contribute are trite comments and business understanding that matches her gender partner at the AMP.
 

So Winston doesn’t stand a chance to be there next time round,  because whatever John Messara presents to him as the required steps to take, he won’t have any support to take it anywhere. The whale from Northland will have consumed him as the disinter grating of his party happens before his own eyes.

Time will tell, but your odds are accurate.

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6 hours ago, John Clydesdale said:

 J Allen is looking for another role as you read this, but the Colgate girl will struggle to find a spot for a ham fisted intellectual that could not put his trailer on the tow bar to take his successes to the tip.

Could he not just take his successes (at least in the racing industry) on the back of his bike John?

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I’m reluctant to post this, because I don’t want to be seen as a JA or NZRB apologist, but I’d like to make two points for the record.

The number of active TAB accounts has increased significantly under the JA watch, admittedly not racing accounts, but the stats are impressive, and secondly, he can only interpret and act on the law that binds him, so rather than maligning him how about you do a compare and contrast assessment with those who went before him, Bayliss and Brown.

The NZRB is certainly not perfect, many things they do are bizarre, some of their OPEX might be questionable, some of their appointments defy common sense, but the real villains are NZTR and our big clubs. They’ve betrayed us with vacuous leadership, disgraceful use of assets, dereliction of duty, and incredibly poor decision making that’s hurt the people that matter, those at the grass roots level.

The greatest failure of NZTR though is that they’ve done nothing useful in recent years, and that’s unforgivable.

A note to conclude, NZTR and the big club’s are bound by The Racing Act too, and they’d be well advised to do a bit of reading, clause 9 of the Objectives Of The Act in particular, and start complying and supporting the NZRB and the industry participants.

Here’s the clause ( to save you searching Bernard and “Missing In Action” Jackson ( henceforth known as MIA Jackson )

to develop policies that are conducive to the overall economic development of the racing industry, and the economic well-being of people who, and organisations which, derive their livelihoods from racing:

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13 hours ago, poundforpound said:

You’re a good judge so explain your rhetorical question to us please.

My bets would be as follows;

Retires due to ill health $1.05

Forced into retirement after coalition breakdown $2.00

Makes it to the next election and the voters give him what he deserves $1.10

Enters into love triangle ( with ) and goes to live in Rarotonga with Jacinda and Clarke $2.85

None of the above $10.00

 

 

Who is going to fund them when he leaves is a bigger issue for NZ/Winston First. Cant see Ron or Shane being a big hit with fisheries or racing hierarchy

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