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Some Taxi Drivers Still Draw The Dole

News release September 5, 2003

Some taxi drivers still draw the dole

Many new taxi drivers who are funded into the job by Government grants may continue to receive the dole once they are behind the wheel, the Taxi Federation believes.

The Federation is concerned about a growing sub-class of taxi driver who may be using the dole to top up the meagre income they receive from passenger fares.

"For some time now the industry has been in a crazy situation where there are far too many taxis in main centres and there are not enough paying passengers to support them," Federation executive director, Tim Reddish, said.

"The situation is so bad that some main centre operators just cannot be making a living from fare income alone. We suspect quite strongly that many of them are being supported by the taxpayer.

"Not only does this make life extremely difficult for the legitimate operator, but it's totally unacceptable that the Government, which is aware of the gross oversupply of taxis, should be using taxpayer money to fund still more new immigrants into taxi driving jobs."

A recent report prepared for the Auckland City Council highlights the problems that continued unrestricted entry to the industry is causing.

"The Federation has been calling for some time for the industry to be re-regulated, or at least for Government to institute a moratorium on new drivers.

"The feedback from Government is that neither option is particularly palatable.

"Not only won't Government work with the industry to remedy the problem, they actively contribute to it.

"And it is the taxpayer - and legitimate operators - who pay the bill."

ENDS

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