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The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Resource material › Our Policy Advice Areas › Racing Policy

We administer the Racing Portfolio and our Policy Group provides policy advice to the Minister for Racing on related matters. We also administer the Racing Safety Development Fund.

The Ministerial portfolio of Internal Affairs is also relevant to racing, especially with respect to the wider gambling industry (see: Gambling Policy).

About the Racing Act 2003

On 1 August 2003, the
Racing Act 2003 came into force. The Act:
  • repealed the Racing Act 1971 and replaces it with a simpler statute
  • established the New Zealand Racing Board in place of the Racing Industry Board and Totalisator Agency Board
  • provides for the appointment of the Board by the Minister following a comprehensive nomination and consultation process
  • gives greater autonomy to the racing codes for distributing TAB profits, while strengthening lines of accountability between clubs, codes and the Board
  • deems various rules, including betting rules and the rules of racing, to be regulations (this means that Parliament will be able to scrutinise the rules to ensure fairness).

Other Relevant Legislation

Other relevant legislation includes the
Gambling Act 2003, the Gaming Duties Act 1971, the GST Act 1985, the Income Tax Act 1994 and the Financial Transactions Reporting Act 1996 and the Racing (Harm Prevention and Minimisation) Regulations 2004.

Key Racing Industry Groups

Racing Act 2003 governs two statutory bodies - the New Zealand Racing Board and the Judicial Control Authority. It also confers varying degrees of recognition on a wide range of other industry organisations.

New Zealand Racing Board

New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) has a dual role as both the industry’s main policy body and as the provider of race and sports betting. It has a statutory responsibility to develop policies that are conducive to the economic development of the racing industry and the economic well-being of those who derive their livelihoods from racing.

The key functions of the NZRB include:
  • determining the racing calendar each year
  • conducting on-course and off-course racing betting and sports betting, and making rules relating to betting
  • distributing funds obtained from betting to the racing codes
  • administering the racing judicial system
  • developing or implementing (or arranging for) programmes for the purposes of reducing problem gambling and minimising the effects of that gambling
  • undertaking (or arranging for) research, development and education for the benefit of New Zealand racing
The NZRB retains the TAB brand for race and sports betting, and inherits a wide network of retail outlets.

NZRB membership
The NZRB governing body consists of seven members, appointed by the Minister, as follows:
  • An independent chairperson appointed after consultation with the racing industry
  • One person appointed on the nomination of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing
  • One person appointed on the nomination of Harness Racing New Zealand
  • One person appointed on the nomination of the New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association
  • Three persons appointed on the advice of a nomination advisory panel.

Judicial Control Authority

Judicial Control Authority (JCA), established in 1996, appoints all judicial panels for harness and thoroughbred race meetings, as well as judicial panels to hear non-raceday enquiries relating to the rules of racing (horse ownership issues, racehorse doping, etc). It also appoints tribunals to hear raceday and non-raceday appeals. (Greyhound judicial panels are appointed in accordance with the rules of greyhound racing).

Recognised Industry Organisations

Racing Act 2003 gives recognition to approximately 140 recognised industry organisations. These include the three racing code bodies (thoroughbred, harness and greyhound), registered racing clubs and several sector groups.

Racing Codes

The governing bodies of racing are
New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Incorporated (formerly the New Zealand Racing Conference), Harness Racing New Zealand Incorporated and the New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association (Incorporated). The code governing bodies are responsible for the rules of racing, and for the registration of all racing participants human, equine and canine. Only those owners, trainers, jockeys, drivers, horses and greyhounds that are licensed by the relevant racing code may participate in the industry.

Racing Clubs - Thoroughbred, Harness and Greyhound

Racing clubs are permitted to run race meetings in accordance with the racing codes’ rules of racing, and pursuant to betting licences issued by the NZRB. Racing clubs are generally incorporated societies.

Sector Groups

The following sector groups represent the interests of various industry professionals and other participants, and are recognised by the Racing Act:

Race and Sports Betting

The NZRB provides opportunities to bet on horse (gallops and harness) and dog races, and sporting events. Betting on horse races through the TAB has occurred since 1950, betting on greyhound races since 1981, and sports betting since 1996.

Retail Network for Race and Sports Betting

The NZRB provides on-course services to licensed racing clubs at 65 racing venues throughout the country. Off-course betting is available through TAB retail outlets. These comprise sub-agencies (pub and club outlets), including self-service terminals, and dedicated TAB agencies.

The NZRB also operate a telephone betting service, Internet betting via the TAB website, and interactive remote betting through Sky digital TV.

'Trackside TV' is a channel launched in 1992 to broadcast every race the TAB takes betting on. Trackside is free to air on UHF, and also broadcasts on SKY digital. 'Radio Trackside' is a national racing radio network broadcasting race calls, racing news, talk and information.

More Information