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Ambulance at the bottom of the cliff Winston Peters announcement 12 noon tomorrow


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It’s High Noon in the Beehive - Minister’s pre-Budget announcement to be live streamed

Barry Lichter

By Barry Lichter • 11 May 2020

Minister For Racing Winston Peters will make a pre-Budget announcement tomorrow on the racing industry.

Peters will speak at noon in the Beehive theatrette before the Prime Minister’s daily COVID-19 update.

It is expected the Minister will announce the first tranche of financial support for the beleaguered industry.

The Minister’s speech will be live streamed on his Facebook page, coverage which is certain to be watched by industry participants worried about their livelihoods.

The Racing Industry Transition Agency, already $45 million in debt to the bank, and with its turnover smashed by the coronavirus, today furthered its plans to cut staff by 30%, long time and passionate Trackside personnel among those set to be let go.

Stakes have already been slashed for the rest of the season and RITA has been unable to advise the three racing codes what they will look like for the new season, starting in August, until the Government responds to its pleas for help.

Peters is expected to give the industry a rev - in October, 2018 he revealed the recommendations of the Messara report, which he commissioned because he said the “once great industry had been sitting on its hands for too long, and was being killed by inertia.

“We are staring at a downward spiral from which we may never recover,” he said. “The vital signs of our industry are dreadful. It is in a self-perpetuating decline which is nothing short of terminal.”

Peters said the industry had been given a liferaft of reforms and it was a now or never moment - sink or survive and flourish.

Eighteen months down the track and the industry is in a far worse position, effectively insolvent.

 
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2 hours ago, mardigras said:

What riveting viewing that will be. Anyone got some paint drying somewhere?

They used to say that about the America's Cup pre 1990, before the classy graphics came in, so everyone could see what was happening, and before of course the trimarans took over

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2 hours ago, Maximus said:

Predictions, anyone? Apart from $$.

Mustelid predicts statutory management of some kind, reporting directly to the Minister, Our Saviour in the short-term. Pay cuts for RITA personnel as well as the redundancies. 

Hard one to pick Maxi.

A bail out to Racing of all industries will be hard to stomach politically.

This latest saga all goes back to Peters anyway, he has not demanded action or else, RITA has just been a name change from NZRB, and the only effort put in that stands out has been the degree to which the hierarchy have been clinging onto their empire.

He will push as much as possible onto Covid and the refusal of the industry to get in behind Messara, and what Peters has put in place, RITA, MAC etc etc, when at the end of the day, it is his own shortcomings, that have allowed further dallying to go on for another 20 1/2 months.

To be honest, I don't really know what will happen, what I do know, is that Peters is a slippery as they get

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Thinking about it, I'll go for some form of overseeing statutory manager, to, as a priority, implement the Messara report, and as a priority in that, outsourcing(the NZRB, I know a dead horse when I see one), cost reduction, and unfortunately the legislation to transfer assets to the national bodies to enable the sale of land to generate the said 190 mil required for infrastructure upgrades at the remaining 28 courses.  This in itself is not a bad thing, but a sustainable model has to be put in place first.

The wording in the Messara Report intro is quite severe and specific, the racing industry in NZ is in a critical state! 

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1 hour ago, Hesi said:

Hard one to pick Maxi.

A bail out to Racing of all industries will be hard to stomach politically.

This latest saga all goes back to Peters anyway, he has not demanded action or else, RITA has just been a name change from NZRB, and the only effort put in that stands out has been the degree to which the hierarchy have been clinging onto their empire.

He will push as much as possible onto Covid and the refusal of the industry to get in behind Messara, and what Peters has put in place, RITA, MAC etc etc, when at the end of the day, it is his own shortcomings, that have allowed further dallying to go on for another 20 1/2 months.

To be honest, I don't really know what will happen, what I do know, is that Peters is a slippery as they get

and he will want to position himself to remain relevant in September, so I'd suggest the $$$ will be plentiful ( to keep the industry 'on side' with votes in mind ...and mebbe big cost-cutting at RITA with swifter timeframes and control from the Minister

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6 hours ago, Hesi said:

Thinking about it, I'll go for some form of overseeing statutory manager, to, as a priority, implement the Messara report, and as a priority in that, outsourcing(the NZRB, I know a dead horse when I see one), cost reduction, and unfortunately the legislation to transfer assets to the national bodies to enable the sale of land to generate the said 190 mil required for infrastructure upgrades at the remaining 28 courses.  This in itself is not a bad thing, but a sustainable model has to be put in place first.

The wording in the Messara Report intro is quite severe and specific, the racing industry in NZ is in a critical state! 

Not sure about the statutory management.  That would indicate that the Minister's handpicked Board weren't and aren't up to the job, and, therefore an implied criticism of him.

Would he allow that?

As for the asset sales?  any benefit obtained as a result will be pissed against the wall unless radical changes are made at ALL levels,  not just NZRB/RITA/Wagering NZ/RacingNZ or whatever else they choose to call themselves.

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I hope the announcement is along the lines of

We are going to divest the operations of the TAB to a commercial operator. As part of that, we will be negotiating minimum returns to the industry during a transition period of x years. We will be changing the legislation to allow competition in the wagering environment. 

After the period of 'grandfathering' in some sustainable returns to the industry, the industry will be needing to sustain itself through negotiations with the various operators.

But since I doubt that will be the case, can someone wake me up when it's over.

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$10 million in savings from TAB staff cuts - with increased centralisation next season

Barry Lichter

By Barry Lichter • 11 May 2020

The TAB is expecting its sweeping staff cuts to save $10 million a year.

But while that number suggests redundancies will mostly come at the middle to bottom end, management says it has also begun a review of the executive leadership team.

With a wage bill of $61.5 million last year, a $10 million saving is only a 16% reduction, but the Racing Industry Transition Agency is reducing its head count by 30%.

The top six TAB executives earned a total of nearly $2.5 million between them last season. Former CEO John Allen’s salary was $690,000 to $700,000, the next two earned between $380,000 and $398,000, and three others took home $360,000 to $370,000, $320,000 to $330,000 and $310,000 to $320,000.

Staff were told at a meeting today that all areas of the business and all teams would be impacted.

“There was already a need for RITA/TAB to become a more commercial, leaner business but we’ve had to move towards that point earlier than anticipated with a deeper impact due to Covid-19,” consultation letters said.

“The TAB is an expensive business to run and COVID-19 has come when we have been most vulnerable after a period of significant investment.”

The programme of Government-led transformation had also been delayed.

“We predict revenue next year will be down considerably with domestic racing getting back slowly and at fewer venues, uncertainty around the return of quality domestic and international sport and reduced spending by many New Zealanders.”

55 fewer meetings at fewer venues

RITA indicated that the draft calendar for the 2020-21 season will see 55 fewer gallops and harness meetings held in the North Island, reducing from 321 to 266.

They will also be held at fewer venues, many meetings that require significant travel and accommodation dropped.

That, says RITA, means fewer production staff will be required. A core staff of 30 full and part time employees will be kept in the north, with seasonal and casual cover of up to 13 staff to assist. The changes impact 19 present positions.

In the South Island only 25 core staff will stay, with up to six casuals to cover. This impacts 14 present positions.

Fewer gallops and harness meetings will be held in Otago-Southland, with increased centralisation to Canterbury.

There will also be increased centralisation of greyhound racing in the south to Addington.

RITA plans to service South Island meetings from a team based in Christchurch, which will result in 11 of 13 positions in Dunedin being disestablished. Increased efficiencies will be gained through cross-skilling of roles.

Race filming to deteriorate

Race coverage will be reduced significantly with standard meetings having seven staff and only four cameras - three for judicial functions. That number will increase to the present eight cameras for up to 20 marquee events, with 13 staff. Greyhound meetings will have only three cameras and three staff.

RITA has confirmed it will not reinstate racing on its AM and FM radio frequencies which were suspended last month.

Digital streams, carrying a simulcast of its Trackside channels, would be available only via ROVA, the TAB app or website. All radio specific programming will be lost.

Trackside TV will have a total focus on live racing to drive revenue, with more races to be imported and more hours on air. On course presenters will only be used on up to 20 marquee days, leaving Trackside a race-to-race retail type product.

Staff have been invited to provide feedback on the proposed changes.

Final decisions will be relayed on May 25 and the new structure takes effect on June 22.

rita.jpg

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Mustelid Musing #109

Hmmm ...'sink or swim'  ' lifeline of reforms' ...

is it possible that Our Saviour will announce drastic legislation to be drafted to enforce the 'land grab' for the 'greater good', justified by the current insolvency??

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6 minutes ago, Maximus said:

Mustelid Musing #109

Hmmm ...'sink or swim'  ' lifeline of reforms' ...

is it possible that Our Saviour will announce drastic legislation to be drafted to enforce the 'land grab' for the 'greater good', justified by the current insolvency??

That would be the end of the end, since we are well past the beginning.

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4 hours ago, Freda said:

Not sure about the statutory management.  That would indicate that the Minister's handpicked Board weren't and aren't up to the job, and, therefore an implied criticism of him.

Would he allow that?

As for the asset sales?  any benefit obtained as a result will be pissed against the wall unless radical changes are made at ALL levels,  not just NZRB/RITA/Wagering NZ/RacingNZ or whatever else they choose to call themselves.

 

4 hours ago, Freda said:

Unfortunately the cuts made so far are for staff we would probably prefer to stay on.  I hope the high-salaried lot have to face the same cuts, but am not holding my breath.

Agree on both points Freda !

The Asset sales thing has been put in the "too hard" basket by over-paid fat-cats...whilst those" low paid" hard workers at the Coal face,

showcasing the product, suffer to the tune of 30% cuts.

why cant race-courses start their own housing developments in field (center track with a vehicle crossing?) ..(SHOWING MY IGNORANCE , NO DOUBT)

instead of selling off historically loved iconic assets that locals frequent every year.

(Bigger crowds than your average (Ellerslie / Trentham / Riccarton).Saturday or mid weeker.    

 

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5 minutes ago, Maximus said:

Predictions, anyone? Apart from $$.

Mustelid predicts statutory management of some kind, reporting directly to the Minister, Our Saviour in the short-term. Pay cuts for RITA personnel as well as the redundancies. 

Yesterday's report from Rita? re the further industry redundancies has left me feeling an immense anger and sadness: too indescribable to find the right words..

I am now convinced I must now abandon our investment, participation and dreams in the Industry we've loved since very early childhood.. The final death throes too horrible to watch

The stupidity and cunning of self-serving administrators, past and current, is beyond monumental, it's criminal. 

Having taught Marketing at tertiary level I'd have to fail anyone who had not taken into account the importance of and investment in marketing a big business (such as the NZ Racing Industry) needs. To totally eliminate the "faces" of racing" is incomprehensible. It now appears to me the massive injection of funding required to rejuvenate our livelihoods and business is a forgotten hope. I don't believe for one minute Winston has the guts to override and sack his appointed RITA governance committee nor convince the Government to fund Racing's debt AND inject the necessary amount to restructure yet again. Winston will soon tell us but I for one have lost the my desire and to be a part of racing and breeding. I just don't want to listen anymore.

Thanks John Messara for trying.  

 

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well said, but I wish you hadn't had to say it, Heather. This dire situation is heart-breaking for so many breeders and owners who have endured far too much pain already, long before Covid came along to fast-track the misery.

I hope Winston has taken drastic action, but I fear he can't or won't sack the 'suits' who have failed to move quickly or sensibly enough since the Messara Report - and I note John Allen has just resurfaced with another cosy number in Wellington (Regional Development), pushing paper around and sweet-talking stakeholders for another big fat salary.

Take care of yourself!!

MM

😧

 

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The racing industry will get a $72.5 million emergency support package, Racing Minister Winston Peters has announced.

"We can't guild the lily. The racing industry has been hit by the perfect storm of Covid-19 while in a weak financial state and in the midst of a reform programme," Peters said.

"As a result, there is a genuine risk of insolvency and the industry losing the future gains of its reforms.

"The Government has a respond, recover, and rebuild strategy for Covid-19. This announcement is the first step towards a long term restoration of racing," Peters said.

 

The support package consists of:

• $50 million dollar relief grant for the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA)

• Up to $20 million in funding to construct two new All Weather race tracks.

• $2.5 million dollars for the Department of Internal Affairs to fast track work on the online gambling revenue, and address loss of revenue impacts on community and sport groups.

• $26 million of the relief grant to RITA will be used to pay its outstanding supplier bill which Peters said it hadn't been able to because of "strangled revenue".

"The other share of this package will ensure RITA, and each of the racing codes, can maintain a baseline functionality and resume racing activities," Peters said.

The racing industry was "seriously underestimated" for its economic contribution and past studies had shown it contributed $1.6 billion to the economy each year, Peters said.

There are 15,000 full time racing industry jobs and nearly 60,000 jobs which participate in the industry in some shape – from vets to equipment suppliers, and owners. New Zealand bloodstock is world class and a significant export earner, Peters said.

The Government would assess recapitalisation options over the next three months.

The Government has also approved up to $20 million dollars from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to construct two new synthetic race tracks - one at Awapuni in the Manawatu and the other at Riccarton Park in Christchurch.

The racing industry had also been impacted by funding to community and sport organisations drying up without gambling with more New Zealanders gambling on offshore online platforms.

The Government was fast-tracking work by the Department of Internal Affairs to re-evaluate the gambling framework of our community, sporting, and racing groups, Peters said.

"We are going to make racing great again."

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The problem is they use old information - and information that does not apply to the racing industry - as leverage for getting the government to come up with more funds. The industry has been contracting since those reports, and those reports were at least 50% related to breeding. And 1.6B is 0.5% of what was NZ's GDP anyway.

This is the part that pisses me off. The government being hoodwinked into making further crap decisions. All weather tracks, point of consumption taxes. Just a continuation of the past 15 years.

The racing industry was "seriously underestimated" for its economic contribution and past studies had shown it contributed $1.6 billion to the economy each year, Peters said.

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How can Peter's put money into a model that hasn't reformed itself,  it's  like topping up a bucket of water with a significant sized hole in the bottom

The only reason I can think of, is that this comes with substantial provisoes, that is what you would expect,  but then it is the racing industry and they have been sitting on their hands for the last 30 years

Good points Heather about the marketing of the industry, which has been pretty much nonexistent, basically forever

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From Stuff:

Peters says he is concerned with Kiwis turning to online gambling on offshore platforms. 

"It's our intention to regulate the offshore online gambling sector," he says - and motions towards introducing onshore online gambling in NZ.

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From Stuff:

What's his view on outsourcing TAB? 
 
He said the decision has to have the NZ racing industry and economy as the beneficiary.
 
He said if a decision like that is made, we have to be the winner.
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