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This will be my final contribution to Harnesslink as Minister for Racing. I am leaving Parliament to take up the posting of High Commissioner for New Zealand in the Cook Islands. Harness racing and racing in general is an exciting and complex industry and I know all of you who make your living out of it, or just have an incredible passion for it, are committed to its longevity.

Racing Minister John Carter has today (Wednesday March 30) invited nominations for appointment to the New Zealand Racing Board. The opening of nominations is due to the expiration of a current board member's term on 31 July 2011.

The earthquake that struck Christchurch on February 22 dealt the city a devastating blow. In addition to the lives lost, many have also been disrupted in the wake of that earthquake, including those of the Canterbury harness racing community.

Racing Minister John Carter said yesterday (Wednesday March 2) that moving the 2011 Inter Dominion Pacing and Trotting Championships from Christchurch to Auckland is a sensible decision and he hopes for a much needed boost to Canterbury from the harness racing event.

The second round of the 2010/11 Racing Safety Development Fund has opened for applications Racing Minister John Carter said today (Tuesday February 1). The fund supports projects that improve racecourse safety. All harness racing clubs and racing code bodies can apply for funding.

I am pleased that the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) is on track to start up on 1 February as planned. Key personnel have been appointed and I am confident that this unit is a step forward in providing protection for all those who work and invest in the racing industry.

For most the holiday break is not far away, but many of us are in the midst of the pre-Christmas rush. As part of this I'm travelling to Hamilton later in the week for a meeting with the New Zealand Trainers Association and other industry people.

It is generally accepted that harness racing faces many challenges, from declining public interest and a resulting decline in revenue from domestic racing, to integrity issues, aging infrastructure and a range of other issues. It is easy, particularly over winter, to focus heavily on these points as the positive memories of the previous season have faded.

One of the decisions I have made as Minister for Racing is to support the New Zealand Racing Board in its moves to improve integrity, across the board, for the racing industry. My comments on integrity are not designed to slight the many honest and hard-working people who make their living out of racing.

Racing Minister John Carter today (Wednesday October 20) announced the appointment of Dr Alan Jackson to the New Zealand Racing Board's governing body. "Alan Jackson has been appointed as a replacement member for Alistair Sutherland, who resigned his position so he can enjoy his racing involvement as an owner rather than as an administrator,' Mr Carter says.

Integrity issues in the racing industry must be addressed in a professional and independent way, Racing Minister John Carter said today (Monday October 11) in a speech at the Judicial Control Authority for Racing conference.

There is a definite feel of spring in the air, which is an exciting time for harness racing. The breeding season is underway and owners and trainers are planning for the rich spring and summer racing. It is much easier time to attract people to the racetrack when the weather is good and the horses are top class, so this is the best time for harness racing.

It was interesting to attend Harness Racing New Zealand's Annual Conference last month (July), where I spoke, listened to some of the other speakers and participated in a lively question session.

The New Zealand Racing Board is celebrating the official horses' birthday on Sunday (August 1) with a significant donation to Riding for the Disabled (RDA), Racing Minister John Carter announced today - Tuesday August 3.

Chairman Pat O'Brien and Harness Racing New Zealand board members, club delegates, and invited guests, thank you for the invitation to address Harness Racing's annual conference. I would like to acknowledge the other speakers here today (July 30), New Zealand Racing Board chairman Michael Stiassny and chief executive Andrew Brown; as well as Geoff Want, from Harness Racing Australia.

New Zealand's Racing Minister John Carter today (July 7) announced the reappointment of Liz Dawson to the New Zealand Racing Board's governing body. "Ms Dawson, as a returning member of the Racing Board, brings considerable business and industry experience to the boardroom," Mr Carter said.

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