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Economic impact report on the New Zealand sport horse industry

The aim of this research paper is to gain an understanding of the size and scope of the sport horse industry in New Zealand. The definition of the sport horse industry is that it comprises of all horses in New Zealand that are not being used for the purpose of racing or breeding of horses for the purpose of racing. The actual size of this sector of the industry is not widely known, the best estimates are made by using the Agribase Biosecurity database, which states the numbers of horses in New Zealand at 120,000 with 40,000 of these being involved in the racing industry, leaving 80,000 to be classified as sport horses for the purpose of this research. The implications of using the Agribase Biosecurity database information is outlined later in this report. The report firstly looks to define the industry and how it is separated from other industries; it also looks at what factors contribute to the makeup of the industry and how these factors are inter-related. The ability to look at comparable industries or in this case sporting pursuits is not possible due to the nature of the industry; with the exception of maybe pet care there is no other sporting or recreational activity that requires an ongoing cost to maintain the key component of that pursuit. Motor racing is used as an example in the report as a sport that has a high level of financial input required, however if you stop motor racing for 12 months you can eliminate all expenses during that period. This is not achievable with the sport horse industry; the only way to eliminate costs completely is to exit horse ownership. To complete this report I looked at similar surveys and information from overseas studies, this information was used to help build suitable survey questions. This report contains highlights of the overseas studies to enable comparison to be made with the New Zealand study. The report also looks at some of the New Zealand research done on this industry sector and utilises some of the research findings when calculating economic benefits. The information gathered for this research was through an online survey of horse owners, the survey purpose was to gather information about the amount of money that was spent on keeping a horse for one year in New Zealand. The survey looked at different areas in New Zealand to see if there were significant differences in the costs depending on location; it also looked at what price the respondent was willing to pay for a prospective mount. Some of the key findings in the research are: - Estimated 80,000 sport horses in New Zealand - $12,500 average total annual spend per horse - Contributes over $1 billion to the New Zealand economy annually, this is greater than 0.5% of GDP - Directly sustains the equivalent of 12,000 full time equivalent (FTE’s) jobs - Sport horse owning land owners spent an additional $5 billion on land purchases to support their interests - Over 65% of horse owners are not willing to pay more than 25% of the ongoing annual operating costs on the purchase price of their horse. - More than 70,000 horses in New Zealand will have a market value of under $3,000 Based on this research it is recommended that further research be undertaken on the value of properties that are used for the sole purpose of equestrian pursuits within New Zealand. There is a move by some district councils to restrict the subdivision of land to what they determine to be economical farm units. The conversion of pastoral lands from production based to consumption based land uses is seen by some of these councils as moving to uneconomical units. This research suggests that the use of land for equestrian pursuits makes a far greater economical contribution than traditional farming practises could. Therefore the restriction in size of farming units is not justified, and in fact could have a negative effect on the economic development of the region.
Working Paper
Type of thesis
Matheson, A. & Akoorie, M.E.M. (2012). Economic impact report on the New Zealand sport horse industry. Working Paper Series No 90, Department of Strategy and Human Resource Management. Hamilton: The University of Waikato.
The University of Waikato
Copyright 2012 The Authors