Govt confirms changes for taxi safety

  • Steven Joyce

The government has today confirmed that all taxis operating in our larger centres will be fitted with security cameras from 1 August next year.  This move is designed to enhance the safety of both taxi drivers and their passengers.

The Land Transport Rule: Operator Licensing Amendment (No 2) 2010 will also ensure taxi drivers get around-the-clock telecommunications support.

“Sadly, the safety situation for taxi drivers has changed in recent times and these requirements are now a necessity,” says Transport Minister Steven Joyce.

Since December 2008, there have been a number of serious attacks on taxi drivers. Two of these resulted in deaths.

The Operator Licensing Rule will set requirements for the fitting and type of security camera that can be used. It also includes limits on access to camera images to protect passenger privacy. Changes to provide for improved telecommunications systems mean each driver will have a direct link with the taxi company, and is able to alert them in an emergency.

“We have worked hard to put this in place quickly. While there is no measure that can make drivers entirely safe, evidence and overseas experience shows these measures can seriously reduce the risks.”

Taxis operating in towns that are currently serviced by more than 30 taxis will be subject to the new requirements.  This has changed from 20, which was originally consulted on, and means that taxis in Blenheim and Timaru will not be required to comply as would have been the case previously.

The amendment Rule comes into force on 1 February 2011. Approved Taxi Organisations have until 1 August 2011 to have the required systems installed and operating in their taxis. Taxis that already have a security camera fitted when the Rule takes effect will be allowed to operate with that system until 1 February 2012.  By that date, they must either have their existing system approved by the NZ Transport Agency or replaced with one that has been approved.

Information on Land Transport Rule: Operator Licensing Amendment (No 2) 2010 is available on the NZ Transport Agency website: