Sense from Steven

February 9th, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Dave Burgess in the Dom post reports:

Intoducing legislation to reduce or cap the number of in Wellington would be a move back to the bad old days of the 1970s and 1980s and will not happen, Transport Minister says.

The Government’s position goes against that held by Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, who has said that limiting taxi numbers was an area for lobbying the New Zealand Transport Agency, which issues taxi licences.

The Taxi Federation also supported a cap on the 1237 taxis licensed for Wellington.

“The Taxi Federation regularly is nostalgic for the good old days and periodically says it wants to restrict the number of taxis,” Mr Joyce said. “I notice they never volunteer to reduce the numbers in their own fleets.”

A good point, and nice to see the Minister resisting a step back in time.

The lack of action in cutting cab numbers may disappoint a significant number of Wellingtonians, if a poll on dompost.co.nz is anything to go by. Three- quarters of the 664 respondents said they believed there were too many taxis in the city.

“At different times there can be too many, but I notice that whenever you are looking for a cab you are never too worried about the number of taxis,” Mr Joyce said.

“You get more concerned if you aren’t looking for a cab and you see them around.”

Also often you don’t just want any old cab, but one from a company you trust. Some taxi firms are very much a matter of using only as a last resort.

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15 Responses to “Sense from Steven”

  1. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    “No” to taxi caps. Excellent work, National. How about a “no” to unelected and undemocratic race-based local government in Auckland? What, too late?!

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  2. gravedodger (1,528 comments) says:

    I guess it would not be too difficult in the city that preoccupies itself with legislating a solution for every perceived problem to find nearly 700 people who want to restrict Taxi numbers. Conduct the survey outside the south entrance to the Basin in a screaming SW wind with driving rain and it might be a slightly different result.

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  3. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    The Luddite mayor of Wellington would not only ban taxis, but cars from all over the place. If she could, she would make bike riding compulsory!

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  4. MT_Tinman (3,043 comments) says:

    “The Taxi Federation regularly is nostalgic for the good old days and periodically says it wants to restrict the number of taxis,” Mr Joyce said. “I notice they never volunteer to reduce the numbers in their own fleets.”

    A good point?

    It would be except for one thing.

    The Taxi Federation is just another bloody union and about as useful as the rest of the bastards.

    They don’t own taxis as such, provide no benefits to their members and charge ridiculous fees.

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  5. petal (705 comments) says:

    “Also often you don’t just want any old cab, but one from a company you trust. Some taxi firms are very much a matter of using only as a last resort.”

    Last cab of the rank?

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  6. RightNow (6,836 comments) says:

    The Taxi Federation want to reduce competition for their members, like any union. I suspect if they had their way then Kiwi Cabs would be the first to go, since they’re about 25% cheaper than Wellington Combined.
    Thanks Kiwi Cabs, love your work.

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  7. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    I’ve been to Wellington a few times and never needed a taxi, the bars seem to be in easy staggering distance.

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  8. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    Christ, what is going on with National. Two days in a row now of… economic sense. And in an election year. Bloody fantastic.

    By the way watch the economy pick up now that the government has announced it will reign in spending, provided people believe it (which means actually starting on a program of cuts).

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  9. rouppe (940 comments) says:

    Not only was Celia Wade-Brown wanting to cut the number of cabs, she wants to start charging motorcyclists for parking as well.

    The reason given was that increasing the number of parks means losing existing car parking spaces which will cost revenue. She wants to stop losing revenue? Try cracking down on taxi’s that park in public parking spaces without paying. That’ll sort them out.

    It would be rather simple. Currently the meters will take 10c pieces, so cabbies put in a 10c piece to get a chit for 2 minutes whenever they see a warden. Well parking in the city costs $4 an hour, how about making the minimum parking time 15 minutes ($1)?

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  10. georgebolwing (675 comments) says:

    For all his faults, David Lange was sound when it came to the deregulation of taxis. He once said that when he visited a country for the first time, he always took notice of the taxis at the airport. If the taxis queued for people, then the government was serious about economic reform. If the people queued for taxis, then they weren’t.

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  11. Jeremy Harris (323 comments) says:

    It really pisses me off when Joyce makes such obvious sense on an issue like this, because it displays quite clearly how insidious his Think Big 2 programme of building the Puhoi and Wellington motorways (with negative BCRs) and the broadband network is…

    He knows they’re a waste of money but blantantly lies and says they’re not for political reasons…

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  12. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Not only was Celia Wade-Brown wanting to cut the number of cabs, she wants to start charging motorcyclists for parking as well.

    That was misreported (and cleared up in a followup story, IIRC). The council were proposing not increasing the number of free motorcycle parks because they didn’t want to convert car parks (and thus lose revenue). They were not proposing to charge for existing free motorcycle parks..

    But, hey, good to see someone on a right-wing blog complaining about not getting stuff for free.

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  13. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Good to be able to congratulate the Nats for something. Well done Steven.

    I love the David Lange quote.

    As Roger Douglas says, if there are too many taxis for all the drivers to make a living, some would leave. If they’re not leaving there can’t be too many taxis.

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  14. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    How can there ever be “too many” taxis? Loony interventionist solution looking for a problem. This is perfectly solved by the free market. Let the number of taxis find its natural level. If there are “too many”, the numbers will shrink by attrition as the job becomes less attractive. If there aren’t enough taxis, the job becomes more attractive and the numbers grow. Not rocket science.

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  15. radiodead (1 comment) says:

    Unfortunately Roger forgot about where they’d ‘leave to go to…?’ and more unfortunately the FREE MARKET ‘attrition’ argument is completely undermined when the “state” subsidises and tops up the returns of drivers via WINZ and other welfare based agencies in order to massage and disguise its own failings in employment data.Next time ask your taxi driver for a backhander to get some of your tax $’s back.

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