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Racing Minister Delivers Warning To Industry

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
John Carter
John Carter

Wellington, Oct 11 NZPA - Greater integrity within the racing industry is needed if it is to turn around a decline in wagering and participation, says Racing Minister John Carter.

Speaking at the Judicial Control Authority for Racing conference in Wellington today, Mr Carter said it was concerning to see a recent survey showing half the respondents had a negative impression of racing and betting on racing.

Mr Carter said his office had monitored racing coverage in the Sunday Star-Times for over 18 months and found at least 27 articles relating to racing integrity issues, including drug use by industry participants, or horse doping, issues around gaming machines, and violence within the industry.

"It is very clear to me that perceptions around the racing industry and corruption need addressing," he said.

If negative issues kept arising, people were not attracted to participating in the industry and everyone involved suffered as a result.

Mr Carter said of the many honest and hard-working people involved in racing, some would be grappling with integrity issues.

"It may be that they are aware of things going on in other stables that they think aren't their business, but this may be behaviour that affects the impression the punting public has of racing." Indiscretions must not be ignored, he said.

Ensuring there were no suggestions of cronyism was another important direction to take.

Mr Carter said racing had faced a $1.2 billion decline in wagering in the past 25 years and image played a big part in efforts to try to turn that around.

The decision in June to establish the independent Racing Integrity Unit was a step in the right direction and Mr Carter said he backed industry leaders in their moves to act to address problems.

"This new model of integrity services will give more independence to the policing of racing. Making the rule-making, policing and the judicial systems independent and transparent is critical to the integrity of racing."

Mr Carter said globally there was a move to address integrity issues by putting appropriate systems in place, and that New Zealand risked isolation if the industry didn't unite here to do the same.

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