Trotting club officials plead case with MPs

Forbury Park. Photo: ODT files
Forbury Park. Photo: ODT files
Forbury Park Trotting Club officials are not sitting on their hands as their fate is decided.

Chief executive Della Henderson and club chairman Craig Paddon made the journey to Wellington late last week and talked to different Members of Parliament, raising the concerns of the club.

Forbury Park Trotting Club has lost all its race dates under next season’s draft calendar.

Henderson and Paddon met New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball, the chairman of the transport and infrastructure committee which oversaw the new Racing Industry Bill, which was passed into law last week.

Henderson said they also met other MPs and were happy with the reception they received.

They did not meet Racing Minister Winston Peters but Henderson said yesterday New Zealand First MPs had told them the issues the trotting club was facing would be discussed with Peters today.

Other National MPs had also been part of discussions and she felt the duo had been given a fair hearing.

"Everybody had given us an ear. They had given their time to listen to us and everyone agreed there is a lack of process and transparency in the way it has been handled," she said.

"We are still working hard on getting our dates back. That is what we want.

"We have engaged a public law specialist and we are prepared to go to court."

All their concerns had been taken on board by the MPs and she felt the trip was more than worthwhile.

Henderson said they were working hard on other strategies and plans to keep racing at Forbury Park.

The decision on the calendar is set to be confirmed later this week, though that may change.

The Racing Industry Transition Agency (Rita), which sets the calendar, had to consider nearly 100 submissions from clubs, organisations and individuals representing all three codes from around the country, but has not held any public hearings or allowed anyone to speak to their submissions.

Rita said Forbury Park was no longer economically viable as a venue and a declining horse population made many tracks no longer viable.

Forbury Park holds many of its meetings on Thursdays which the trotting club argues is no help it in attracting good betting figures.

Greyhound meetings are also to be cut from the Dunedin track.

Otago Greyhound Racing Club meetings have also been axed from Forbury Park under the draft plan.


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