Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Tougher New Test for Taxi Drivers

Tougher New Test for Taxi Drivers

Transport Minister Paul Swain announced that a new area knowledge and English language test for taxi drivers is available from today.

Speaking at the NZ Taxi Federation annual conference in Nelson this morning, Mr Swain said the new test, which will be phased in over the next few months, toughens up the requirements for would-be taxi drivers

“The new test has a higher oral component (to test language skills), a greater emphasis on map reading and a section on devising alternate routes with more emphasis on buildings and city facilities.

“The new test is in response to industry concern and considerable anecdotal evidence about the poor English and area knowledge skills of some taxi drivers,” said Mr Swain.

“Another issue is that the test is open to fraudulent practices because some test providers have a vested interest in the result,” he said. “To address this the LTSA will take a more pro-active approach to monitoring the tests, particularly those administered by independent test providers.”

Mr Swain also said the government was committed to re-introducing legislation to cover taxi fare evasion. “The so-called taxi-runner offence is currently covered by generic theft legislation but it is difficult to prove intent,” he said.

“Re-introducing taxi-running as a separate offence will act as a deterrent for fare evaders and will give taxi operators the support for demanding payment for their work.”

To improve passenger safety, the government is considering introducing an Operator Safety Rating System to rate the safety performance of all operators, including taxis, freight, bus, taxis, said Mr Swain. “Under the proposed system individual drivers and/or transport companies would be rated on data collected over a 12-month period such as crash involvement, transport-related convictions of drivers and operators, pass/fail rates of vehicle inspections and the outcome of Police stops. The suggested ratings are: Unsatisfactory, Conditional, Satisfactory and Superior. “Operators who receive an ‘unsatisfactory’ rating would be suspended from operating for 28 days and then rated again. This could also apply to an entire company.”

The government is also proposing changes to the Driving Hours and Logbooks system for taxi drivers, said Mr Swain.

The proposed changes include: a simplification of the system by redefining “on-duty and “drive-time” to “work-time” - this will reduce confusion for drivers who are required to allocate their hours using three different categories. a reset of the 24 hour clock after 10 hours of continuous rest, removing the confusion over when you’re allowed to restart work an extension of the rest period from 9 hours to 10 hours an extension of the work period before a regulated break is required from 5 ½ hours to 7 hours.

“These initiatives are aimed at improving safety by giving drivers more rest between shifts,” said Mr Swain. “Alternative management schemes, where companies design their own driving hour management systems, may also be allowed. However these systems would need to be approved by the LTSA.

“The re-introduction of the taxi-runner offence, the introduction of an Operator Safety Rating System and the proposed changes to the Driving Hours and Logbooks system will all be covered by the Land Transport Amendment Bill, which I intend to introduce to Parliament next year,” said Mr Swain.

A full text of Mr Swain’s speech accompanies this press release.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Corrections Corrected: Supreme Court Rules On Release Dates

Corrections has always followed the lawful rulings of the Court in its calculation of sentence release dates. On four previous occasions, the Court of Appeal had upheld Corrections’ practices in calculating pre-sentence detention. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news