NZTR has recently held workshops around the country canvassing industry feedback on possible alternate Governance structures for itself - in the event it’s One Racing initiative does not gather support from the Harness and Greyhound codes. Up for discussion were all aspects of governance including the composition of the NZTR board, its appointment process, terms of service and membership of NZTR.
Currently the NZTR board consists of 10 representative members being 6 regional club seats elected by respective clubs within the North, Central and South regions; 3 sector organisation seats appointed by the Owners, Breeders and Trainers representative bodies; and 1 small clubs’ seat elected by small clubs (1-3 licences).
To get discussion going, NZTR tabled a number of possible board composition models that were either fully representative (i.e. along current lines with club and sector organisation representatives); fully non-representative (i.e. individuals with a mix of industry knowledge and commercial skills, not specifically representing a club or sector organisation); or a mix of the two.
While the fully non representative structures were given a good hearing, they may prove to be too great a step for many industry participants to contemplate in one move and/or at the current time. Options that involved a mix of representative and non representative board members therefore appeared to gain most support.
To accommodate the introduction of non representative board members while keeping the NZTR board size to a number that will remain effective, fewer representative members would be required. This led to considerable debate as to whether existing club or sector organisation representation should reduce. As has often occurred in the past, some club representatives argued for the removal of sector organisation representation, contending that as most racing club membership ranks include Owners, Breeders and Trainers; there is no need for any of these sectors to be represented separately. Another suggestion was that sector organisations could be represented regionally at the cluster level rather than on the NZTR board.
The Racehorse Owners Federation strongly disagrees with both suggestions. While it recognizes many industry participants such as Trainers, Breeders and Race Club committee members regularly have ownership interests in racehorses, the Federation believes it is fundamentally important for all owners – being the suppliers and financiers of the underlying racing product – to have effective independent representation that is clear of potential conflicts of interest that can and do arise between the interests of Owner’s and those of Trainers, Breeders and Race Clubs.
A criticism of representative structures is they sometimes result in decisions being influenced by parochial positions or self interest rather than being driven by what is in the best interests of the industry. While there are undoubtedly examples of where this has been true, particularly at a regional or club level involving race dates, the Owners Federation believes Owner representation is less prone to similar conflicts of interest as it has a national (rather than regional) focus and an obligation and desire to represent all owners. While it is relatively easy to imagine initiatives that are in the best interests of the industry but have an adverse impact on a particular region or club, it is much more difficult to imagine initiatives that are in the best interests of the industry that will not also be in the best interests of all owners.
The need for there to be an industry voice representing the interests of owners is well established and indeed is recognized in statute. The Owners Federation believes NZTR has a responsibility to ensure that owner representation is nurtured so that it can continue to exist. Any removal of owner representation could therefore only be a backward step.
NZTR is an incorporated society. Its members are currently limited to registered Race Clubs, with the number of race day licences held determining the number of votes each Race Club can cast. Sector organisations (Owners, Breeders & Trainers) are currently not members of NZTR and therefore cannot influence the outcome of any matter that requires a change to NZTR’s constitution.
This situation was recognized as an anomaly in NZTR’s 2009 Governance Review which stated “The present structure does not reflect the pattern of industry participation and influence. It is a “club-centric” structure when racing clubs are only one service delivery component of the industry (via the provision of venue and related services)”.
To address this anomaly, the Governance Review recommended “That the membership base of NZTR be broadened to include a second category of Members to be known as “Industry Members” (or similar). Industry Members would be properly constituted industry associations representing the ‘investment’ side of the industry, namely owners breeders and trainers.” and “The Industry Members category to have a voting strength equal to not less than one-third of the total number of votes able to be cast at a meeting of both classes of Members.”
The Racehorse Owners Federation sees merit in the membership of NZTR being broadened to include meaningful representation of these significant industry stakeholder groups and looks forward to the continued discussion of this among industry stakeholders.
If you agree with the views expressed in this article, we encourage you to make a brief submission to NZTR supporting the retention of the Owner representative on the NZTR board and commenting on the inclusion of the three sector organisations in the membership of NZTR.
The NZ Racing Hall of Fame kiosk exhibition will be viewed by thousands of people next week at the National Fieldays event at Mystery Creek (Hamilton). The kiosk will be located at the foyer area of the Main Pavilion and is a “must see” if you are at the event. This is a wonderful opportunity for the industry to show case racing's elite performers. The NZ Racing Hall of Fame thanks Fieldays CEO - Barry Quayle for his support.
Last Friday a second kiosk was set up in the departure lounge at Hamilton International Airport. We have been delighted at the number of people who have been noted viewing it and we sincerely thank Airport CEO Chris Doak for approving this site.
NZ Racing Hall of Fame
R E L E A S E
RACE Inc once again proudly invites Owners of horses raced at their venues, Trentham and Awapuni, to enjoy a day at the races in gratitude of their support over the last 12 months.
Trentham Owners Day is Saturday 12 June where Owners and their guests are exclusively invited into the Oaks Room with access to Members facilities, a light lunch with afternoon tea and a subsidised cash bar in operation.
Courtesy Ford Owners Day at Awapuni on Saturday 19 June offers hospitality for Owners and their guests within the Silks Lounge with a carvery lunch and subsidised beers and house wine.
Owners in attendance of RACE Owners Day will be eligible for prizes including betting vouchers and race day hospitality. Awapuni Owners Day offers lucky draws throughout the day with thanks to Ford, Horsewyse, Prebble Equestrian and RD 1.
RACE Inc Chief Executive Matt Reid says “We are so appreciative of Owners support at all of our venues. This is our way of saying thanks”.
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Brent Wall, Awapuni Racing Operations Manager – 06 356 4940
Logan Fenwick, Trentham Operations Manager – 04 528 9611
The Auckland Owners Association is sponsoring the running of the Owner’s Cup at the Avondale race meeting on Friday 23rd April 2010. Members of all Owners Associations are invited to the Owner’s Room situated beside the President’s Suite to enjoy the hospitality provided by the Auckland Association. For further information call Ken Cramer-Roberts on 09-5705-304 or Neil Miller on 09-5345-690.
24th April 2010 will be the 150th anniversary of the Hawkes Bay Cup.
In recognition of this important milestone, Hawkes Bay Racehorse Owners Association is donating a trophy for each of the ten races, together with two bi-monthly “owners” trophies. The $1,840 cost of these 12 trophies has been met by the Hawkes Bay Association.