Peters signals intention to make ‘positive changes’

Winston Peters. Photo Getty
Winston Peters. Photo Getty
Speculation that Racing Minister Winston Peters would make a significant announcement over the weekend were confirmed at Karaka yesterday.

Mr Peters officially opened this year’s  national  yearling sales sales at Karaka with a speech in which he  vowed to return more money to the industry. However, those waiting for big paydays  —  or for Mr Peters to wave his magic wand over the industry which has been hit hard by cancelled meetings this year  — were left disappointed.

The minister revealed few specifics about his plans for the portfolio.

Instead, he was critical of the previous National-led government and told those attending the sales they would have to wait to for more announcements.

"After nine years of the previous government doing nothing for the racing industry we are going to change that but you won’t be getting all those details today," Mr Peters said.

"Racing should be returning $3billion to the economy rather than $1.6billion like it is now.

"It employs 42,000 people, a lot of them young people, and Treasury needs to understand it not only has a significant economic impact but a social impact on New Zealand.

"So we are going to make some positive changes."

Mr Peters did confirm  he would seek funding for an all-weather track and suggested it would be in Waikato. The facility was expected to cost $10million.

"The cancellations of race meetings is costing the in-dustry millions of dollars and an all-weather track can help by giving us options to hold those meetings."

Peters did not mention the closing down of racetracks, nor specifics about the future of South Island racing.  He did signal  tax advantages for bloodstock owners and breeders.

The minister also hinted at race stake increases. 

— Jonny Turner, additional reporting NZME

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