The New Zealand thoroughbred racing industry is currently undergoing a review, commissioned by the Minister for Racing, Rt. Hon. Winston Peters, looking into the financial viability and sustainability of the New Zealand racing industry (Messara Report).
In parallel, the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing industry body (NZTR) has issued recommendations, called the NZTR Venue Plan, regarding the structure, organisation, and operation of racing venues across New Zealand.
Avondale Jockey Club is supportive of the ‘whole of industry’ review to ensure it is sustainable and can deliver a more vibrant and successful racing industry in the long term. But we are extremely concerned about proposals to consolidate racing venues and reduce the number of race days in Auckland and in particular at Avondale.
The NZTR Venue Plan consultation document, released in January 2019, shows that in the 2024/25 racing season Avondale will not be allocated any race licences, and by 2030 will no longer be required. NZTR propose only two racing venues in Auckland – Ellerslie and Pukekohe.
The NZTR Venue Plan consultation document fails to recognise the significant contribution Avondale Jockey Club makes to national, regional and community racing. Nor does it recognise the actual value to horse racing in New Zealand of retaining Avondale Jockey Club and growing the sport of horse racing in the greater Auckland region.
We firmly believe the NZTR recommendations are not in the best interest of the racing industry and the broader community. The greater Auckland region can easily sustain three active racetracks, with mid-week and weekend racing at each of these venues. The Auckland based clubs need to work together to ensure Auckland has more racing, not less.
Avondale Jockey Club has submitted a response to the NZTR Venue Plan Consultation document