This race is not yet run

by Matt King, Member of Parliament for Northland

Let me make this quite clear. When National is elected government, it will repeal this ill-conceived, state-sponsored theft of community assets mooted by Racing Minister and rejected Northland MP Winston Peters.

This newspaper, The Dargaville Racing Club, myself and indeed I believe the entire Kaipara community have railed against the proposal to seize the assets of the Dargaville Racing Club.

Club president Tim Antonio calls it institutionalised theft, and he is right.

The land and buildings of the Dargaville Racing Club have been donated to the club and community during a 100-year period. What gives the government the right to unilaterally seize them for what it calls the greater good of the racing community?

Let me state another fact — the assets belong to the Dargaville community.

They do not belong or deserve to belong to the champagne-swigging, insufferably over-dressed Ellerslie Carnival attendees who, unlike most of us here in the north, are more interested in being seen and being seen to be seen than they are in the racing itself.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not against revitalising the racing industry. There is no doubt it has problems, and it is after all still part of our New Zealand tradition of rugby racing and beer. However, I am vehemently opposed to community assets such as our club here in Dargaville being seized compulsorily to support big-city racing.

Yes, we will repeal those clauses if National is elected. However, we must try to stop this now. The concepts of fairness and ownership in New Zealand are at stake. This race is not yet run. You can make a submission to discuss amendments to the bill until February 11. Visit parliament.nz/en/pb/sc/make-a-submission, scroll down to the Racing Industry bill and make your opinion heard