The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

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).

Racing Industry Act 2020

On 1 August 2020 the main provisions of the Racing Industry Act 2020 (the Act) came into force. This represents the Government’s final and main legislative response to the recommendations of the Messara Report.

The new Act replaces the Racing Act 2003 and finalises the post-transition governance structure of the racing industry.

Through the Act, TAB NZ is established as the sole betting provider for racing and sports in New Zealand. TAB NZ is focused on maximising profits for the benefit of the New Zealand racing industry whilst having a strong regard for gambling harm minimisation.

Industry administrative functions, previously conducted by the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) which operated the TAB, are now the responsibility of the three racing codes.

The Act enables TAB NZ to introduce new betting products subject to an approval mechanism.

TAB NZ will be required to apply to the Gambling Commission when intending to change or create betting rules, requiring harm minimisation to be prioritised in any application.

The Act brings in several changes to the collection of offshore charges. Betting Information Use charges are to be set through commercial agreements with relevant racing codes, National Sporting Organisations or Sport NZ. The Point of Consumption charges have been changed to more closely align with GST on offshore services.

The Act empowers the three racing codes to effectively govern their respective industries which consist of racing clubs and venues.

The Act establishes the Racing Integrity Board, responsible for all integrity functions, and oversees an investigative arm and an adjudicative arm that operate independently of each other. These arrangements are based on recommendations from a report by Mr Malcom Burgess MZNM which emphasised the need for an independent integrity body.

The Act introduced a suite of changes to resolve historic property issues that have stymied the recovery of the industry and creates a legislative framework to enable property to better benefit the racing industry while making considerations for community input and interest in the venue.

More information on the development of the Act can be found here: Government Review of the New Zealand Racing Industry

Racing Reform Act 2019

On 1 July 2019 the Racing Reform Act 2019 (the Act) came into force. The Act formed the government’s first legislative response to the recommendations of the Messara Report.


The Act reconstituted the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) as the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA). RITA managed the transition and day-to-day operations of the industry until the end of the transition period created by the Act.

The Act introduced two offshore charges, an information use charge and a point of consumption charge. These charges aim to ensure that overseas betting operators contribute to New Zealand racing and sports codes from which they benefit.

The Act allowed betting on sports not currently represented by a qualifying domestic national sporting organisation and places the formula for calculating payments to racing codes and sporting organisations into regulations.

The totalisator duty (betting levy), which was paid to the Crown, was phased out by the Act over three years and the funds instead reinvested with the racing and sport sectors. A proportion of these funds are also set aside for industry-led gambling harm minimisation initiatives.

Messara Report into the New Zealand Racing Industry

30 August 2018
In April 2018 the Minister for Racing, Rt Hon Winston Peters appointed senior Australian racing expert John Messara to review the New Zealand racing industry's governance structures and provide recommendations on future directions for the industry. The Minister released the report on 30 August 2018, and it can be found here:

Key Racing Industry Groups

The Racing industry Act 2020 (the Act) establishes TAB NZ as the sole betting provider for racing and sports. The Racing Integrity Board will be established as the body responsible for compliance and adjudicative functions of the racing rules set out by the three racing codes.

TAB NZ

TAB NZ is New Zealand’s sole domestic betting provider for racing and sports and is established by the Act. TAB NZ has responsibility for ensuring that it maximises profits for the long-term benefit of the racing industry and returns to New Zealand sports. These objectives are subject to TAB NZ ensuring that risks of problem and underage gambling are minimised.

TAB NZ provides on-course services to licensed racing clubs off-course betting, including for sports, is available through retail outlets and online. A portion of proceeds from sports betting are funnelled back to sporting organisations to help fund their growth and development while a portion of betting profits is channelled back into the racing industry.

Racing Integrity Board

The Racing Integrity Board (RIB) will be established by the Minister for Racing appointed establishment panel following the Act coming into force. The RIB will replace the Judicial Control Authority as the body responsible for ensuring compliance with high standards of animal welfare, integrity, and professionalism within the industry.


The RIB will carry out both compliance and adjudication functions with responsibility for ensuring race day compliance with relevant code racing rules and appointing adjudicative committees to hear matters in accordance with racing rules.

Racing Codes

The governing bodies of racing are
New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Incorporated, Harness Racing New Zealand Incorporated and the New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association Incorporated. The code governing bodies are responsible for the administrative functions for their respective industries as set out in the Act. This includes 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 New Zealand

While yet to be established, the Act provides for the creation of Racing New Zealand (RNZ). RNZ will be a consultative forum that will promote collaboration and co-operation across codes and with other industry bodies.


The three racing codes will be able to delegate powers individually or collectively to RNZ. They will be able to use RNZ as a means for collective negotiation with other organisations such as TAB NZ.

Recognised Industry Organisations

Along with the three racing codes, the Racing Industry Act 2020 recognises a variety of industry organisations. Along with every racing club registered with each of the three racing codes the Act recognises:

Sport and Sports Betting

TAB NZ conducts sports betting in New Zealand. This is done with permission from the relevant National sporting Organisation (NSO) or Sport NZ if a relevant NSO does not exist.


NSO’s or Sport NZ receive payment from the offshore provider for use of the sports information for betting purposes. This helps fund sport within New Zealand.

Sport NZ also makes declaration of “New Zealand sporting events” for the purposes of the offshore betting charges.

Surplus racing venues

The Racing Industry Act 2020 (the Act), sets out a process for the vesting of surplus racing venues while making considerations for community input and interest in the venue.


The intention of the Act is for the identification and vesting of surplus venues to be conducted by the relevant racing code and negotiated with the relevant club or clubs. If an agreement cannot be reached, the Act outlines a process for the codes to request the Minister for Racing’s involvement.

The Minister must appoint a reviewer to consult with the relevant parties and investigate a number of considerations outlined within the Act. Once the reviewer has reported back to the Minister, it is then the Minister’s decision to either present an Order in Council recommending the vesting of the surplus venue to the code or, to decline to do so. This order can include a requirement payment to be made to a club to enable it to race at another venue or a payment in recognition of community interest in the venue. The Minister can order the club and the code to resume negotiations if they believe more can be achieved through that process.

Offshore charges

Point of Consumption Charges

The Point of Consumption (POC) charges require an offshore operator to make payment to the designated authority (the Department of Internal Affairs) for bets on racing or sports from people residing in New Zealand.

Betting information Use Charges

Betting Information Use Charges (BIUC) are charges required to be paid by offshore operators for the use of New Zealand racing or sports information. These charges are negotiated between the offshore provider and the relevant code or National Sporting Organisation (NSO), or, where a NSO does not exist, Sport NZ. Sport NZ must first declare a sporting event to be a New Zealand Sporting Event for agreements to be made for sporting information.


Previous Legislation and Policy Work

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).

Racing Amendment Bill 2017

1 August 2017
Racing Minister David Bennett has introduced legislation to require betting operators outside of New Zealand offering bets in respect of New Zealand racing or sports, or accepting bets from in New Zealand, to pay charges for the benefit of New Zealand sports and racing.

Other Relevant Legislation


More Information