$72.5 million emergency support package for the New Zealand racing industry

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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 gild 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.

Of the immediate grant, $26 million will be used to pay RITA’s 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.

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.
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