The Corner with Garry Chittick

You, my now five readers, will not remember or may not have known, that the Racing Authority (the Board in control of the income provided by the TAB prior to Minister of Racing John Falloon attempting to streamline the Racing Act) were constrained by the Act they operated under specifying where betting deductions were allocated.

Let me explain – the deductions from the dollar wagered were split for specific accounts. This meant if deductions determined for Amenities accumulated more than required, the funds could not be used for race stakes. There were four specific accounts and these constraints meant clubs came up with many creative claims. At my first Committee meeting at Manawatu, I left totally confused. I am not an accountant, but the late Bill Freeman was a genius at maximising the club’s share of the Authority’s resources. But then, he wasn’t the only one, so as always when given a sniff of tweaking a club’s needs, it reminds me of the current Government believing they know best where resources will work, whilst having no idea who is getting their fingers in the pie. But the real problem was one area may have been starved of funds whilst another account may have an abundance.

The major change of the Act then was no longer specific allocations. Now the Board had the discretion to use funds where they believed the industry was best served. This change unlocked significant funds, but also increased the responsibility of the Board; whereas the Authority could hide behind the specific deductions, the new Board had to exercise more judgement. Regretfully, the change in the Act was just before the 1987 crash, 45 years ago you five won’t know about this cyclical change. Imagine having just been appointed – Chairman Tom Williams and his Board had very few options, the funds in-hand many argued should have been rationed but a bit like COVID, now there was a need to keep the industry viable. No point in having cash reserves and no horses.

So why today’s Corner? Well, is there any money available to encourage owners to stay owners? I don’t know but if there isn’t, it doesn’t bode well for the future. If there is money available, are our current administrators confident that money in the vault will keep owners in the game? We seem to be in the paralysis by analysis mode. Brave people have a go, leaders have followers. You be the judge of who we have, and where we are going. 



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