Winston Peters tasked with rivitalising $1.6 billion horse racing industry

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1 NEWS

As the summer racing season kicks off the new racing minister Winston Peters is vowing to work with the $1.6 billion dollar industry to help it reverse falling attendance numbers.

His challenge is to reverse falling attendance numbers and address failing infrastructure.
Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Peters seems confident he can harness the potential of the industry.

"I want to ensure the racing owners, the trotters, all those owners, get some sort of chance of getting a payback so they can pay the staff and everybody involved in this industry," says Mr Peters.

Racing Board chief executive John Allen says their stakes aren't where they need them to be giving returns to owners.

"It's not just about big and small tracks, when we get it right, people turn up, we just don't get it right enough so we've got some work to do," says Mr Allen.

Over the last ten years it's estimated attendance at race days has fallen by over five per cent.

From just over one million people a year to 600,000 this year.

Punters such as Jeff Tough also believe the sport is saddled with a number of problems.

"Prize money has to increase a lot of the trainers, if they get a decent horse, they go straight across to Australia and you can't blame them," says Mr Tough.

The industry is banking on Mr Peters' support to turn its fortunes around.

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