I have called on the Government, more importantly the Minister for Racing Craig Foss, to take charge and bring the major players in the harness racing, greyhound and thoroughbred industries together to come up with a positive platform for change. I have stressed to the Government that the industry is in decline.
I do appreciate that some sectors of the economy are facing difficult times. However, we must ensure that sectors of our economy are not overlooked, and we need to work together to ensure a robust and competitive industry faced with increasing competition.
Labour recognises the difficulties faced by the industry, whilst trying to focus on its core activities but also trying to modernise itself for the 21st century - not an easy balancing act by any means, but also something that Government should be assisting with to ensure that industry can achieve the best results and future growth.
Labour is committed to enhancing the good relationship we have had with the racing industry over the past decades. We want to work with the New Zealand Racing Board with its initiatives as it further develops a strategic approach to growing the racing industry within New Zealand.
We believe that we need to focus on all racing codes, in some instances bringing all three codes closer together, working for the benefit of the industry as a whole, with realistic goals that could see better stakes, better educational opportunities for young people who seek a career in this vibrant industry, and a safe working environment, not only for humans but also for the animals entrusted to the industry.
We understand that it is not only the internal racing sectors that we must focus on. Labour wants to ensure that Government also work in line with the industry through our own
internal departments such as Biosecurity, ensuring that we continue to protect this valuable industry.
We need to work together for the benefit of the industry. Together I believe that Labour can assist in moving the racing industry forward toward a better future.
Ross ROBERTSON (MP for Manukau East - Assistant Speaker - Labour Spokesperson for Racing)