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Statement soon on Kerry Hoggard's racing 'integrity' role

A public statement is expected this week on accused insider share trader and NBR Rich Lister Kerry Hoggard's appointment as chairman of the Racing Integrity Unit.

Despite strong critcism of Mr Hoggard's appointment by Wellington lawyer, former Act MP and former Securities Commission member Stephen Franks this week, Mr Hoggard remains chairman of the disciplinary body overseeing thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing.

After a day of silence, racing minister Nathan Guy today distanced himself from Mr Hoggard and was reluctant to comment. 

In a written statement to NBR ONLINE, Mr Guy says the RIU is funded and run by the racing industry itself, with its own constitution and rules.

“The minister of racing has no role or power over it," he says.

Mr Hoggard, who is president of the Auckland trotting club and Auckland-based member of Harness Racing New Zealand, was the subject of a Securities Commission investigation in 2000 after it was revealed he bought $635,000 of Fletcher Challenge shares when he was chairman.

The purchase came just before the company announced its best half-year earnings in four years.

Mr Franks and the late Business Roundtable director Roger Kerr won an out-of-court settlement against Mr Hoggard, who repaid the difference between the share price, with $350,000 going towards establishing the Business Integrity Trust.

RIU general manager Mike Godber says he did not want to comment specifically on Mr Hoggard's position but says a statement can be expected later in the week.

The New Zealand Racing Board says it is up to the three racing codes to make a decision over Mr Hoggard.

Mr Franks told NBR ONLINE he took the case against Mr Hoggard because he thinks New Zealand is speedily heading away from being among the most incorruptible countries.

“When we took the case we did so out of dismay at that tendency, exemplified by the Securities Commission finding insider trading, then doing nothing.”

Each racing code has a 25% RIU shareholding, as does the New Zealand Racing Board. They all get a representative on the board and a say on the chairmanship.

Mr Godber says the racing board has separate functions from the RIU.

“While we bring charges against people for breaches in racing, the board doesn’t determine who gets charged. They’re more a governance role in terms of finance. It’s not a judicial role.”

A fellow RIU board member, Khoa Nguyen, who represents greyhound racing, told NBR ONLINE he could not comment because as he was new to the board and was yet to attend his first meeting.

The third board member, Peter Hut, could not be contacted.

Neither Harness Racing New Zealand chairman Gary Allen nor Mr Hoggard could be contacted for comment.

NBR's Rich List last year estimated Mr Hoggard, the long-serving managing director of Nufarm, was worth $80 million.

bcunningham@nbr.co.nz

More by Blair Cunningham and Jock Anderson

Comments and questions
8

Come on, Mr Hoggard, show some integrity(!) and stand aside - you cannot reasonably serve in such a role. And to whoever appointed you without background checking (I assume) resign, too.

The racing integrity unit is just make work for the boys scheme. Shut the whole thing down and devolve the power back to clubs.

Mr Hoggard also fronts as a member of SaveTheFarms, a supposedly patriotic organisation to keep farms in NZ ownership. Problem is that Mr Hoggard shifted the domicile of Nufarm to Australia and sold his shares to the Japanese. So much for integrity!

This guy made a mistake 13 years ago and he was neither charged with anything criminal or convicted but apologised and made reparation. I suggest we let him, and us, move on as there are more important issues in this country to worry about. I have always believed a director buying shares in his own company shows a lot of confidence, as long as he doesn't immediately sell them again.

Agree with you about directors buying shares in their own companies. Different however when the director is in possession of sensitive information which no other person in the market has, and buy shares from others who do not have that information. That's why it is insider trading. That's why it is a crime.

It is not a crime. It is a civil offence under the Securities Act.

Er, you may want to brush up on the changes to the Securities Act. Per Bell Gully:

Criminal liability introduced

The significant new feature of the Act, however, is the introduction of criminal liability for New Zealand residents or businesses.

The criminal sanctions provide for imprisonment of up to five years and a maximum fine of $300,000 for individuals and $1,000,000 for companies.

Isn't there a time for people to move on? We seem to have a lot of perfect people throwing stones from the sidelines in NZ at the moment.