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Mike Hosking article on Winnie


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Mike Hosking: I back Winston Peters' quest to save the racing industry

12 Mar, 2020 8:06am
 3 minutes to read
Deputy PM Winston Peters is trying to save the racing industry. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Deputy PM Winston Peters is trying to save the racing industry. Photo / Mark Mitchell
NZ Herald
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

COMMENT:

I find myself with some sympathy at the moment for Racing Minister Winston Peters. He is looking to, in his words, save the industry.

A lot, of course, can be said about Peters and his time in various government portfolios over the years. But up until this particular point, I think it's more than fair to suggest he has both, this time and in a previous government, been seen as a most effective, if not excellent, Minister of Racing. He has a personal interest, he's knowledgeable, he's seemingly respected by many in the industry itself.

 

 

He is, however, at this present point in time stuck in an all too predictable cycle of noise, hot air, and anger over what he is trying to do.

This is how these things work, you state your case. In this instance, the racing industry is a mess, it's not profitable, and it can't survive in its present form. You then commission a report, this time it was called the Messara report, Messara being a well known name in Australia.

The report confirms what the Minister feared. Small point to make, the report almost always confirms what the Minister wants, no matter what the subject. But in this case I think most would agree it is in fact accurate as well, and not all government reports can be categorised as such.

Anyway, the report goes out for consultation, submissions are made, and that's about where we are right now. As part of those submissions, what you get is an increasing number of bits of news coverage as the aggrieved seek publicity for their cause. In this case, it's small town race clubs who look likely to be shut because they're broke.

If you've been following this story you'll have seen the spike in coverage. The latest is Dargaville, their argument is always the same, if the club closes it will destroy the community, the industry will die, and it's not fair.

They are partially right, a race day in the country is a major community event, and it is generally well supported. But the bit you're not told is, just how many of these race days do they have? Answer, not many. Hence the club is not viable.

 

 

 
 
Tim Antonio, president of the Dargaville Racing Club fears The Last Post will soon be sounded for the club. Photo / John StoneTim Antonio, president of the Dargaville Racing Club fears The Last Post will soon be sounded for the club. Photo / John Stone

On the rare days they meet it's a booming success, but the key is in the word "rare". This isn't a weekly business. So in a small, geographically sparse country something has to give and that something is a bunch of clubs that have seen a lot better days.

Trouble is, even if those people agree with the broad concept of what Peters is trying to do, they don't want it to be their club. And who can blame them?

 

This is where Peters is between a rock and a hard place. To do the right thing, he's got to make some enemies. But the key thing to remember, as hard as it may be to face, is that he is trying to do the right thing. He's not set out to infuriate small town New Zealand, or destroy community racing, he's set out to save an industry.

Less self interest, more big picture thinking, would probably assist his cause.

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Heard it all before...Dargavill, Reefton, Thames, Avondale,  doesnt matter...the fact is, the Club own the land and no-one has the right to steal their property assets. Revoke their licences, if you must, but purchase their land. It's theirs. This is not Communist China.

Edited by Maximus
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14 hours ago, Maximus said:

Heard it all before...Dargavill, Reefton, Thames, Avondale,  doesnt matter...the fact is, the Club own the land and no-one has the right to steal their property assets. Revoke their licences, if you must, but purchase their land. It's theirs. This is not Communist China.

Yeah,  of course.

What irritates me nearly as much as the immorality outlined above, is the crap information used to justify the stance.

The clubs are ' broke' ,  well,  not really.  Some may have backs to the wall, but others not.  And all operate on a voluntary basis with little or no industry support.  And where does the ' subsidy' that is alleged to be given, supposedly come from?  Isn't it from betting revenue? I'm not aware that NZTR has a fund,  independently sourced, from which it doles out largesse. 

That's just utter b/s and alarming in that lies can be swallowed to instigate political action.

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And,  the funds realised,  if the legal right to take assets is ratified, are peanuts.

To turn the industry around with the current mob of no-hopers still in the driver's seat,  would take millions and millions,  on an ongoing basis.

A  few plots of land in country areas cashed up will do very little. 

Avondale is the prize, but again, without a change in TAB operation , would be pissed up against the wall.

An Avondale every year or so just isnt there for the taking. 

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So true. Dargaville, for example, has very little potential to provide much in the way of money via a forced acquisition.

I'm not so charitable about Peters' motives as Hosking is. As far as I'm concerned he's a blot on the NZ political landscape.

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