Message from Phil Holden, GRNZ Chief Executive

Yesterday (20 December), represented a watershed moment for the sport of greyhound racing.

I am sure you would have watched the television news and read the numerous articles on the Hansen report. It was undoubtedly a tough day for all of us. No doubt, as you've been at the races or with your mates, you've been discussing all the media reports, all the issues, who should have done what and when. That's understandable, that's to be expected.

What is absolutely clear and should be really clear to everyone, is that from 10am yesterday, the world of greyhound racing as you know it changed. There was a clear and pointed message delivered to the sport, to us and to you, that things need to change and they need to change now. That message came from all quarters of the public but most strongly from the Minister of Racing, who said " the findings of the Hansen Report on greyhound racing are disturbing and deeply disappointing". He went further" Serious improvement is required particularly on kennel inspections, dog tracking, approvals regime before a dog can be euthanised, track safety, dog rehoming, and stricter enforcement of the dog health and welfare standards.” The message is clear, unless you want the sport you love to become a political pawn, or a thing of the past, then you need to make a simple decision, am I in or out.

If you're in, then you can expect more compliance, more questioning and scrutiny of the information you provide us. Because that' is at the heart of the issue. We rely on what we are told by you. You fill out the forms, we check them. So I ask you, from this moment on, to take more time and care filing in that form, to take more time and care in the decisions you make in relation to the sport, particularly around euthanasia, as ultimately that's a decision that you have made.

We are going to tighten the compliance further, we are going to question more, for the vast majority of you this wont be a problem. But be clear, the expectation on greyhound racing to reduce euthanasia numbers, further reduce injuries and tighten up its rules and its overall commitment to compliance is clear. You can also expect us to provide more support, to provide more information, to develop more programs to support and educate, so that the expectations on us as a sport by the Minister and community of New Zealand are delivered and that we bring you with us.

You may be thinking, as you read this, who the hell do I think I am. Well simply, I'm the guy that fronted up and took the heat for greyhound racing yesterday. I did it because I care. I really care, I care about you, the greyhounds and the sport. So I think I've earned the right to be direct. For me its simple, the future is in your hands. The Board and staff of GRNZ are fully committed to delivering on all the initiatives outlined in our response to the recommendations contained within the Hansen report. Make no mistake about that, GRNZ, through the Board and staff will deliver.

I believe you care as much as I do and as much as the team at GRNZ does, so I say to you that now is the time for you to show it, in a focused, professional manner, and lets work together to do the right thing and deliver on what we have said we will and put our energy into ensuring the sport of greyhound racing grows and thrives, with the support of the community and having earn't the respect of all.

Posted on 21/12/2017 11:33:14 AM

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