Racing Board appointment overturned

BEN HEATHER
Last updated 13:27 19/02/2013

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The High Court has overturned a ministerial appointment to the Racing Board, saying potential conflicts of interest were overlooked.

In a decision today, the court quashed Racing Minister Nathan Guy's decision to appoint Dr Alan Jackson as an "independent" chairman of the board in July last year.

The minister was found to have overlooked Jackson's strong connections to thoroughbred industry, which could compromise his ability to act independently.

The Greyhound Racing Association sought a judicial review of the decision last year, claiming Jackson's connection's to the thoroughbred industry meant he was not independent.

It raised these concerns with the minister multiple times prior to his appointment but Guy insisted he was confident Jackson could be independent.

The court upheld the association's claim that the minister had failed to apply the right legal test when appointing Jackson.

"He (Guy) misinterpreted the requirement for an independent chairperson," the court said.

Jackson is a member of the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association and has business interests in racing and horse breeding.

He has previously served on the Racing Board as a representative of the thoroughbred industry and was nominated as board chairman by the Thoroughbred Breeder's Association.

The racing board is responsible for administering all betting on racing and sport in New Zealand, including running the TAB.

The board has one member representing each racing code - thoroughbred, greyhound and harness - and four independent member, including the chairman.

The court decision means Guy will have to reconsider Jackson's appointment but that does exclude him from being reappointed.

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- The Southland Times

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