Greyhound Racing NZ CEO says NZ greyhound racing reform is progressing well
Standing resolute amid the minister's comments, Edward Rennell, the CEO of Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ), has vowed to promptly deliver a comprehensive report to NZ Racing Minister Kieran McAnulty, who had recently voiced sharp criticisms about the state of the industry.
Coinciding with the declaration of a significant 25-year betting agreement with Entain, which received the government's endorsement, McAnulty issued a stern warning to the New Zealand greyhound racing industry.
The status quo, he proclaimed, had become untenable, urging the industry to either confront a strict regimen of conditions or face the possibility of closure.
His comments were a response to a report released by the NZ Racing Integrity Board (RIB), assessing 15 key areas of interest. The board's conclusions were mixed, with five areas deemed “good”, five considered “adequate”, and another five labelled as “slow”.
Despite only getting his hands on the final report from December 2022 earlier this week, Rennell assured that efforts have already been mobilised to showcase to the government the significant progress made in the past six months.
“Our initial task is to address the findings of the RIB report, showcasing the considerable strides made since its conclusion in the previous December,” Rennell declared.
He stressed the focus on the industry's enhanced performance over the period and the commitment to sustain this trajectory.
Rennell added, “We're beginning to witness the tangible outcomes of our foundational efforts, especially in the leaps and bounds achieved in the realm of animal welfare”.
Despite an annual prize distribution of $15 million, GRNZ designates a substantial $6 million towards animal welfare – the highest proportion across any Australasian jurisdiction.
“This underlines the gravity of our commitment as an industry in demonstrating our social accountability to the government and the wider community,” Rennell noted.
Rennell also highlighted the positive trends within the industry, indicating that rates of injury and euthanasia have been on a downward trend.
He also announced the impending launch of a compulsory online educational program for participants, signifying an industry-wide commitment towards change. Rennell expressed anticipation for the opportunity to present the ongoing progress and continuous efforts being made within the industry.
McAnulty's remarks on the future of NZ greyhound racing coincided with the introduction of Entain, the proprietor of Australian greyhound bookmakers, Ladbrokes and Neds, as the nation's new betting provider.
Rennell expressed optimism about the wave of support pouring in from Australian jurisdictions, notably led by Greyhounds Australasia (GA) who yesterday released a statement supporting GRNZ's reform work..
GA expressed solidarity with the NZ greyhound racing industry during these challenging times.
They praised the ongoing endeavours of Greyhound Racing New Zealand and the Racing Integrity Board (NZ) in their unyielding efforts towards welfare, safety, and accountability improvements.
The GA statement underscored the establishment of a solid foundation for a sustainable, modern greyhound industry in New Zealand and the thorough documentation of these efforts in GRNZ's submission to Minister McAnulty.
The GA board and its member jurisdictions pledged their support to GRNZ and the RIB, expressing their eagerness to collaborate with the NZ industry, its stakeholders, and Minister McAnulty to carve out a sustainable future for NZ greyhound racing.