New Zealand’s racing industry is facing a major overhaul designed to bring in more international interest and boost revenue, though some critics say it increases political involvement in a traditionally neutral industry. The recent national elections returned strident nationalist leader Winston Peters as Minister of Racing and Deputy Prime Minister in a coalition government. Peters leads the New Zealand First Party (NZF), which holds the balance of power in the New Zealand parliament following an inconclusive election in September. The new policy reflects that of NZF.
New laws widening the scope of current legislation on money laundering and the financing of terrorist activity are currently before the New Zealand Parliament and similar moves are expected in Australia. The expanded legislation will bring in sports betting and wagering for the first time and will include significant extra costs for industry.
Governments from Singapore to New Zealand are concerned about their citizens betting offshore and are looking for ways to recapture, or replace, tax revenue and income for racing clubs and sporting bodies. In Australia, a government-appointed inquiry into offshore wagering is due to report this month. Singapore has already enacted legislation to prohibit its citizens from using offshore gambling operators, and the Malaysian government is also talking tough on the issue. At stake is the loss of finance for the nations' racing industries.