From the Chair

Industry Update from John Coulam, HRNZ Chair

The last three weeks has once again been a difficult time for the industry and the country as we were plunged into lockdown and racing came to an abrupt halt. The good news is that even without domestic racing, the TAB continued to trade at expected levels and our funding for September is guaranteed.

I know that there was a level of frustration around Orders and Directions during this time. At HRNZ we followed the previous orders to the letter until such time as the appropriate Government departments allowed amendments.  My thanks to Gary and the CEO’s of the three codes, as part of the Racing NZ executive, for their work in getting racing up and going again.  We cannot take this opportunity for granted, all participants must adhere to the Orders and Directions for racing behind closed doors and at different levels. Anything less than a strict enforcement by the clubs hosting the meetings may well see racing halted again.

One of the disappointing aspects of lockdown is that it gives the keyboard warriors time on their hands to throw grenades. Behind the HRNZ brand sit real people, directors, employees, trainers, drivers and other stakeholders and their families. In the words of our Prime Minister, “Be kind to one another.”

As directors we are people of hope, optimistic, willing to dare, to challenge the status quo.  To be content with the status quo and to dwell on negativity is not productive and serves no good at all. These are exciting times for our industry as we reshape and focus on our sustainability and social licence.

I am encouraged by the ongoing consultative work that has gone on this year exploring what the racing calendar might look like from 1 January 2022. Whatever is decided will be open to constant review, to further help us look at the best ways to drive up gross betting revenue for our code. Alongside any proposed changes, HRNZ will be contracting an analyst and working with the TAB to look at every aspect of racing to see where the best returns to the industry are and to further explore opportunities.

The club and kindred body representatives attending the HRNZ Annual Conference on 15/16 October will receive feedback on what’s been achieved as a result of our Industry Day held late last year and what the new racing programme calendar will look like.

Spare a thought for the industry participants in both Westport and Kumeu who have suffered through recent natural disasters. Apart from any personal losses, both clubs have had significant damage to their tracks. These unfortunate events are a timely reminder to clubs to review their insurances.

Provided for your information is the traffic light performance indicators for the season just ended.

Key Performance Indicators

Below are the performance indicators as at end of season 2020/21.

John Coulam, Chair
Harness Racing New Zealand Inc
September 2021

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