Horse racing: NZ racing industry breathes sigh of short-term relief

The NZ racing industry has breathed a collective sigh of relief, after the announcement of a $72 million emergency support package that will literally save it from extinction.

Racing Minister Winston Peters believes the cash injection can help make the sport great again and for those at the coalface, the decision is long overdue.

Without the cash, the Racing Industry Transition Agency would've folded by the end of the week.

"It's much needed," chairman Dean McKenzie has told Newshub. "When you can't earn any revenue, it makes the rest of the business quite hard to operate."

Tuesday's announcement is welcome news for the industry in the short to medium term, but RITA knows it's not yet in the clear.

"To ensure that we build on the confidence that today has given us, we all need collectively to look at doing things better and not doing them the same way," McKenzie adds.

Part of doing things better is $20m to construct two new all-weather tracks at Awapuni and Riccarton Park.

"I've been harping on about an all-weather track for 10 years and it finally might be built in my lifetime," says trainer Michael Pitman.

The third and perhaps most important part of the package will see the Government look into the prevention of Kiwis using international betting agencies outside of the TAB.

"You'll be staggered to know the amount of online gambling offshore," says Peters.  "It's gone that way.

"We haven't got the benefit of it."

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