Rotorua’s fight to stay open

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Those eager to see Rotorua’s racecourse remain open beyond the 2023/24 racing season have had their say during an industry-wide consultation.

Last month, Rotorua racing clubs were shocked by a recommendation to close the Rotorua racecourse, but they have had a chance to have their say by making submissions to the Department of Internal Affairs.

The recommendation of closure was one of several made in a report titled “Review of the New Zealand Racing Industry” overseen by top Australian racing administrator and breeder John Messara and commissioned by Racing Minister Winston Peters.

The consultation period closed on Friday and a Department of Internal Affairs spokeswoman said about 1600 submissions were received.

Included in the submissions were those from people involved with the Rotorua Racecourse, desperate to fight for its survival.

Racing Rotorua chief executive Damien Radesic said his submission was in favour of the racecourse not only staying open, but being the racing hub for the Bay of Plenty.

“I do think the industry needs to change and there does need to be consolidation, but they need to be realistic about that consolidation of certain racecourses. Some are far better than others.

“The public are devastated … Everyone I’ve spoken to wants the place to stay open and I know of a couple hundred people who have put in submissions for it to stay open. The response to it has been good from Rotorua.”

“The racing club has really done all the work at the course without having to rely on NZTR (New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing).”

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