Race baiting

I didn’t think too hard about the item in the budget that gave special tax breaks to the racing industry, mainly because it didn’t seem like a lot. Also, it had Winston’s fingerprints all over it and was obviously one of those items on the coalition agreement; probably on one of the pages that went missing.

Now that I am thinking about it a bit more, I’m not so sure. Yes, there was money for the America’s Cup too, but that will clearly bring in tourist revenue, not to mention boatbuilding revenue and accommodation and living expenses for a lot of well-heeled yachties and their families. The benefit to the country is considerable.

What is the benefit to the country in tax breaks for yearlings? This from Stuff: Quote:

Peters announced $4.8m for tax deductions towards the cost of breeding high quality horses, in Thursday’s budget. The change would encourage new investment in the breeding industry, he said, enhancing the country’s racing stock and making it a more financially attractive industry.

Peters said the previous rules favoured established breeding businesses rather than attracting new investment.

Under the new rules, investment in yearlings would be tax deductible if bought with the intention of breeding for profit. End quote.

Yes, but isn’t this a little bit different? Is it likely that lots of punters will go out and buy yearlings? They won’t. The cost of buying and training a yearling is prohibitive, and it is very unlikely that anyone will benefit, except for those already well established in the racing industry. Quote:

Industry leaders were vocal in their support of NZ First, with thoroughbred breeders Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan taking out a full-page advertisement in industry newspaper The Informant to encourage racing participants to party vote NZ First in September last year.

Hogan’s plea came after the party’s former spokesman for racing Clayton Mitchell pledged, if elected, to support a government-funded all-weather race track. End quote.

So, these are tax breaks to be enjoyed exclusively by the breeding and training syndicates. No real benefit for anyone else. Although there are a few annual events that are attended by a lot of people (with lots of other activities included), racing has declined as a spectator sport in New Zealand and elsewhere. Quote:

Sir Patrick Hogan couldn’t be reached for comment this weekend, but in the full-page advertisement he and wife Justine said the National Government had been apathetic to the idea and Winston Peters was the only political figurehead that showed any passion for the racing industry.

“To all those eligible to vote – breeders, owners, trainers, jockeys, administrators, punters and the many businesses that are financially supported by the industry – this is an enormous opportunity to support New Zealand First’s initiative to have 100 per cent what we’ve ben asking for,” the couple wrote.

Peters insisted on the racing portfolio in negotiations to form a governing coalition and, in January at the Karaka National Yearling bloodstock sales, the new Racing Minister confirmed plans for the all-weather track. He said the track would save millions from being lost in abandoned races and give the industry more certainty. End quote.

This is lobbying, surely? From where I sit, it appears to be bordering on corruption.  Quote:

Peters regained the racing portfolio when he negotiated a coalition with Labour last year.  This came after Ardern declined to give NZ First the fisheries portfolio, due to his party receiving significant donations from seafood magnate Peter Talley and others in the fisheries industry. End quote.

They didn’t receive donations from the racing industry? How amazing. Jacinda sees one conflict of interest, and says no, while another conflict of interest stares her in the face, and she looks away. Pathetic.

A few questions here.

In general, don’t the government frown on gambling? There are the TV ads out there about out-of-control gambling and how it can destroy people’s lives. Does this only apply to the pokies? Is horse racing okay then?

Isn’t this a tax break for the wealthy and elite? Again, there may be a comparison with the America’s Cup, but what we are talking about there is one particular event that will bring in a lot of tax revenue. There is nothing to suggest that tax breaks to the racing industry will do that or anything like it. Why are a Labour-led government favouring the wealthy over their own voters, who will never benefit from this policy in a million years?

If tax breaks for the rich are okay, then why do the government continually beat down landlords, who may make profits but they do at least provide a public service? One that the government are unable to provide themselves? We can’t call horse racing a public service exactly, can we?

So, the government support the racing industry but are happy to have people living in cars because they hate landlords. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on that.

 


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Accountant. Boring. Loves tax. Needs to get out more. Loves the environment, but hates the Greens. Has been called a dinosaur. Wears it with pride.

To read my previous articles click on my name in blue.

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