Racing Minister calls for feedback on Messara report – two weeks after release

Good news for the slow readers out there – Racing Minister Winston Peters has given you an additional five weeks to get your head around the contents of the Messara report.

Yesterday, a full two weeks after the report’s release the Minister announced a public consultation period of five weeks, closing at 5pm on Friday 19 October.  Feedback can be emailed to

What will be interesting then is just how long the Minister takes to consider the public submissions and what, if any, weight is given to them.  In the meantime, though, time ticks on.

A date which should be marked on the calendar though, is Monday 1 October, the day the Primary Production committee’s report is due.  This is the select committee which has been considering public submissions to the Racing Amendment Bill 2017 following its first reading last August.

This bill was one of the items the Racing Minister specifically requested John Messara to consider when undertaking his review and accordingly a section of Part 1 of the Report is devoted to this.

Number 10 of the 17 recommendations included in the report’s executive summary states:

  • Introduce Race Field and Point of Consumption Tax legislation expeditiously. These two measures will bring New Zealand’s racing industry into line with its Australian counterparts and provide much needed additional revenue

The more detailed recommendations read:

It is recommended that the Racing Amendment Bill be enacted at the earliest opportunity either as a standalone Bill as presently drafted or as a component of wider legislation. The following changes are recommended to the Bill:

  1. The role of Designated Authority in terms of the Betting Information Usage Charges should be allocated to the three Codes of Racing and Sport New Zealand. The role of Designated Authority in respect of the Consumption Charges should be allocated to the Department of Internal Affairs or such other Department as is appropriate.
  2. Authorisation under each scheme should only be issued to persons licensed or authorised to operate as a wagering operator under the legislation of a relevant Country or State, or licensed by an authorised racing body.
  3. For the purposes of the Consumption Charges, the location of a punter should be determined based on the punter’s home address.
  4. The legislation should also provide for the cancellation, revocation or variation of authorisations where the operator fails to pay amounts due to the Designated Authority or fails to comply with the Regulations or any conditions attached to the authorisation.
  5. The legislation should provide for an administrative review of any decision not to approve an application for an authorisation or of any decision to cancel, revoke or vary an authorisation.
  6. Revenue generated from the Betting Information Use Agreements should accrue directly to the three codes of Racing and relevant Sporting Authorities in accordance with the respective shares of that revenue generated by them.
  7. Revenue generated under the Consumption Charges Scheme and collected by the Department of Internal Affairs should be applied firstly to the administration of the scheme, with any balance distributed in accordance with a formula based on the respective shares of the total investments made currently with the NZRB (Wagering NZ) plus harm minimisation initiatives, etc.
  8. Assessment of fees should be based on turnover and the systems should allow bookmakers to claim bet-back credits where they lay off all or part of a bet made with them but only where the bet is laid off with another operator who is liable for the New Zealand charges.
  9. The wagering operator is to provide information to allow the monitoring of matters relating to the integrity of New Zealand Racing and Sporting events.
  10. The Conditions or Regulations making provision for the inspection of betting records held by the operator to also allow an investigation relating to the integrity of New Zealand Racing and Sporting events. Provision should also be made requiring the operator to allow an audit of the operator’s financial records by an independent auditor approved by the Designated Authority with the costs of such audit being borne by the operator.
  11. Provide for revenue generated under existing authorisations entered into by the NZRB to be directed to the relevant Code or Sport New Zealand.
  12. Consideration should be given to adding custodial penalties for persons found guilty of breaching the legislation.

Submissions to select committee were due by 13 December.  However, as the Minister specifically asked for this to be considered in the Review he commissioned John Messara to undertake, these will presumably be included in the report he tables on 1 October.  If not, what was the point?

We have always been led to believe that no one understands parliamentary process better than our current Minister, so no doubt he has a clear plan as to just how these recommendations would be absorbed into the Bill.  There is a clear process outlined here which should be required reading for those wanting to gain some idea of the mountain we have to climb before we have any chance of seeing some form of this Bill become law

An apology – this was not the post I had planned for today.  I had already largely written that by the time the Minister landed the public submission bombshell on us yesterday.  Instead of writing about a five-week delay while every Joe Bloggs and their half-sister made comment on a document which most won’t have read, let alone understood, I wanted to talk about the aspects of the report the general media had largely ignored.

That post is scheduled to publish here on on Sunday.

Also, a quick mention to those kind souls who have got in touch with me via this blog – it is good to know that my rantings are resonating with some of you and I am not shouting into a vacuum.  The feedback is most welcome!

And finally, with a nod to Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori – te panui I te purongo (Read the Report).