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.
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.
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