From the Chair

Industry Update from John Coulam, HRNZ Chair

Last Saturday’s HRNZ Annual General Meeting was conducted over Zoom, and while it had the potential to be problematic given the number of participants and the potential for technology issues, I am happy to report that the meeting went well. Thank you to all participants for the part you played in ensuring the success of the meeting.

Depending on Covid alert levels, I look forward to meeting club and kindred body representatives in person at the Annual Conference which is scheduled for 9 and 10 December in Christchurch.
At the Annual Meeting we bid farewell to Ken Spicer from the HRNZ Board. Joining the Board in the 2010/11 season,Ken was on the Board for eleven years, serving four of those years as Chair. I acknowledge Ken’s selfless giving to the industry and wish him well for the future.

New members to the Board post the Annual Meeting are elected member Bill McDonald and Independent Director,
Todd Anderson. The HRNZ Board has re-elected me as their Chair for the coming season and Kevin McNaught has been appointed Deputy Chair, replacing John Grainger who chose to step down from this position. The Finance Chair once again is Colin Hair.

The next 12 months will continue to be productive as we work to strengthen the position of harness racing in this country. Work will continue on the financial transparency of funding to clubs, this will include an in-depth look at the actual costs of running all race meetings and venues.

There will also be continued work on horse traceability, are revision of the HRNZ rules and their alignment, where possible, with the other codes, and a review of the HRNZ constitution. Through the management of HRNZ, the Board will continue consulting with all industry stakeholders on the issues before it.

By 31 October the racing programme for all Group, Feature and Country Cups through until 31 December 2022 will be published. This information should help trainers and owners plan out the programmes for their horses and is a direct result of the change of birthday of the Standardbred to 1 January. My thanks to the team that have assisted the management of HRNZ putting this together, in what has been six to eight months of consultation with the industry.
The details around this will be available on the HRNZ website and through normal club communications.
Please note that the money allocated to these races is indicative subject to funding from the TAB remaining as proposed.

With TAB outlets in Auckland closed for the last nine or so weeks due to COVID restrictions, and Waikato and Northland also locked down, betting turnovers across all codes have been down. Add to this the inability to bet with cash in the top half of the North Island and a potential problem exists, if not now, but for next season.

No doubt you too are looking forward to the day when the restrictions are eased and we are allowed back on course to soak up the experience of a day at the races. In the meantime, the New Zealand Cup is fast approaching and this year will be run as an invitation only event as a result of COVID alert levels. Updated key performance indicators will be included with the next Chair’s
Industry Update following the Board’s meeting in November.


John Coulam, Chair
Harness Racing New Zealand Inc
October 2021


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