Integrity Reshape Make Or Break For NZ Racing

NEW Zealand’s Racing Minister Grant Robertson has launched a comprehensive review into the conduct of greyhound racing in New Zealand.

Peter Fenemor

16 June 2021

NEW Zealand’s Racing Minister Grant Robertson has launched a review into the conduct of greyhound racing in New Zealand.

The minister has been quoted in saying that the sector still had some way to go to reach appropriate safety standards as recommended in a major report into the code tabled in 2017.

Known as the Hansen report, it contained 20 recommendations that was welcomed by Greyhound Racing NZ with the recommendations being incorporated into working programs.  

The current review is led by former senior judge Sir Bruce Robertson, chair of the Racing Integrity Establishment Board and is scheduled to be completed by August 1.

GRNZ chair Sean Hannan welcomed the review, indicating that GRNZ are confident they are on track with everything the code has been asked to do (from previous reports).

Indeed, visually many aspects of greyhound racing in New Zealand has radically improved over an extended period.

Demand for rehomed greyhounds has spiralled with waiting times for entry into rehoming establishments being negligible.   

The ‘Great Mates’ rehoming program is a resounding success story.

The program works in collaboration with a number of rehoming agencies throughout the country.

GRNZ appointed former Albion Park track curator Nigel Rugg as the national track curator. He has actively improved track surfaces throughout the country, highlighted by the recently completed resurfacing of the Addington track.

Recent incidents were supposedly behind the current review which came just weeks before a report, requested by the Minister for Racing was to be tabled.

Work on meeting that deadline was on target.

A methamphetamine contamination of a greyhound has contributed to animal rights groups demanding a ban of greyhound racing. The source of the contamination remains unknown despite extensive investigations.   

In my opinion, the review has been instigated based on misinformation and is motivated by groups who have no interest and no intent to enter into balanced discussions.   

And a major integrity reshape of the entire New Zealand racing industry is about to come into existence.

From July 1, a new integrity governance structure commences with the establishment of the Racing Integrity Board (RIB).

The RIB replaces the current Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) and the Judicial Control Authority for Racing (JCA).

The core RIB functions include – Compliance and enforcement with racing rules and regulations; Prohibited substances testing for animals and people; Race-day veterinary services and monitoring racing code animal welfare policies and initiatives; Adjudicative services.

Last week former deputy commissioner of NZ Police, Mike Clement was appointed as the inaugural RIB Chief Executive.

“I think it is universally acknowledged that a strong, effective and credible integrity system is critical to the public’s confidence in the conduct of racing. My challenge is to ensure the very high public and industry expectations as to the conduct, standards and integrity of racing are met,” said Mike Clement.