A proposal out for consultation this week by New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) has rejected the Government’s Messara report recommendation to close the Rotorua Race Course and to sell off all of its assets says Rotorua MP Todd McClay.
Mr McClay said that the Rotorua community would be concerned to learn that under the Government’s Messara report all proceeds from the sale of land and buildings at the Rotorua Racing Club would be forfeit to the industry and used to build better facilities in Tauranga and other racing venues around the country.
Mr McClay said that he had receive a great deal of feedback from locals who want to keep racing in Rotorua. There are a growing number of people who are extremely worried that racing could be lost to our city under the government’s review and money from the sale of Rotorua racing assets shepherded out of town.
For this reason I made a formal submission, on behalf of the community to the government not to close the Rotorua track and instead invest further to build a truly regional facility. During the Government’s consultation process I made a case that the Rotorua Race Club is a strategic asset hosting races for Taumarunui and Tauranga clubs in the past. Its assets should not be sold!
The proposal by NZTR to retain Rotorua as a strategic racing asset is welcome news but it is only a small reprieve unless the government rejects the Messara recommendations and keeps racing in Rotorua.
Mr McClay said “until the Government made such a commitment publicly the community needed to keep up the pressure. It would be a travesty having just lost our rescue helicopter that we also had the Rotorua race club closed down and sold off”.