Garry’s Corner – 28 November, 2019

Garry's Corner

Writing a Corner for you two, as a single-finger typist, is a reasonably onerous task: The objective is to make sure you are up-to-date on our goings on and – when the opportunity arises – to keep you informed when I defend or otherwise our wonderful industry.

I realise the two of you are quite isolated, probably by choice, and therefore the daily newspaper will not be part of your curriculum. Generally I sympathise with your view; you know today’s paper is tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapping – however last week was different.

It was made public that I was identified as a minor contributor to the NZ First electoral fund.

How was I identified I don’t know, and nor do I care.

While close to the sales arena I was phoned, and amongst the noise I had little idea to whom I was talking. Mind you it was not a long conversation. The guts of it was, did I know where my contribution ended up.

It seems NZ First raise money, some of which is salted away in a trust, but for what purpose is unclear. Now I have no need to justify my actions but seriously, what difference does it make to me where it went so long as it was used for the purpose intended?

Well, by 2pm the next day my phone battery was flat. I fielded wall-to-wall calls, I was centrepiece in the relative articles in every paper in NZ. Why me? There are plenty more significant contributions than mine…must have been the best looking.

Why support Winston? Whether I like him (which personally I do) or not, the recent history shows his genuine desire to maintain racing’s place in NZ. His commitment when he last coalesced with Labour was for a significant reduction in our wagering duties, and he delivered. His current attempt to restructure our industry is far more challenging, but he is giving it his best shot. By comparison our National Government treated us with contempt. I know that’s easy to say but if you can identify a positive step on our behalf in the past nine years, email the evidence to me.

We were saddled with a National Party Board person as our Chairperson and her positive step was to salvage the career of the failed Chief Executive of MFA. My corner last week clearly illustrated the resulting five years. All we asked of National recently was for the enactment of the so-called Racefields Legislation. A no-cost-to-Government chance for us to benefit from those using our Raceday information. I am still bewildered as to how badly National misread the racing industry’s frustration which undoubtedly cost them support.

Yes, I believed Winston had an obligation to run with the party who clearly were the preferred electoral result, but it would seem the past history is too difficult for Winston to swallow.

I was asked would I offer the same financial support next year. Why not? Racing is my life, and Winston Peters is the only politician in recent times to attempt to resuscitate it .

Cheers G

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