Labour campaigning for higher taxi fares

November 14th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Darien Fenton has said:

Conditions for cabbies working Auckland Airport have become so dire they have been driven to protest, ’s Transport spokesperson Darien Fenton says.

Around 300 drivers have pulled out of working on the Auckland Airport taxi ranks today in protest at the way they have been treated.

“These drivers have to hand over $190 a week for the privilege of sitting on a rank for hours, without food and drink, and facing the impossibility of making a day’s living.

I didn’t realise that it was compulsory for taxi drivers to service Auckland Airport. I was under the mistaken belief that they were not rounded up from their homes at dawn and made to go to the airport, to wait for fares. I presumed that they choose to cover the airport because the average fare back into Auckland is $70 or more.

I also didn’t realise that Auckland Airport searched their cars every morning and confiscated water bottles, sandwiches etc from their cars.

Presumably Auckland Airport also round up and detain anyone who tries to purchase a bottle of coke or a coffee or behalf of a taxi driver.

“Many work 72 hours a week yet earn as little as $60 a day. On top of that the airport charges another $2 every time they enter the rank.

“The taxi industry was deregulated to bring better service to customers and to ensure there were competitive practices.

“That hasn’t happened. Airport companies are encouraging anti-competitive practices that make life even tougher for drivers.

“Cut throat practices like these mean that take home pay is further squeezed and drivers can’t feed their families.

“The Government needs to take a good look at what is happening for contractors like our cabbies and consider whether there needs to be some minimum protections.”

Presumably Darien means that taxi fares are too low and must be increased. Or is Labour campaigning to sack half the taxi drivers in Auckland so each driver gets more jobs?

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34 Responses to “Labour campaigning for higher taxi fares”

  1. nickb (3,686 comments) says:

    Cry me a river dicks. Why not work somewhere else?

    I await SS coming to tell us that taxies are an essential public good like food, electricity, and Metiria Turei’s designer jackets, and should thus be made free to the public.

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  2. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    Piss off Darien..

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  3. dave_c_ (217 comments) says:

    No sympathy for them at all – there is probably no more a scumbag industry that of the taxi industry.
    High per km rates, fees for this, fees for that, broken English, and an expectation that they are owed a particular level of income

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  4. dave_c_ (217 comments) says:

    70 bucks for a trip to central Auckland – my God. Thats outrageous – I’ll bet there’d be a hu and cry if busses or trains cost that much for such a trip -

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  5. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    “and Metiria Turei’s designer jackets,..”

    The Gween’s ‘Co leader’ is going to need a bloody Muumuu soon if she doesn’t lay off all that ‘organic’ food!

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  6. Prince (103 comments) says:

    Labour will set up a Kiwifare Taxi service, guaranteeing all drivers $20/hr, and the public 20% savings on current fares.

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  7. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    All I can say is Labour is 100% confident in winning 2014 with this announcement

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  8. hj (6,871 comments) says:

    I didn’t realise that it was compulsory for taxi drivers to service Auckland Airport. I was under the mistaken belief that they were not rounded up from their homes at dawn and made to go to the airport, to wait for fares. I presumed that they choose to cover the airport because the average fare back into Auckland is $70 or more.

    ……
    National, labour and the Greens will always ensure an over supply of labour.

    “I also didn’t realise that Auckland Airport searched their cars every morning and confiscated water bottles, sandwiches etc from their cars.

    Presumably Auckland Airport also round up and detain anyone who tries to purchase a bottle of coke or a coffee or behalf of a taxi driver.”
    …….
    presumably they have to go to the toilet like the pampered elites do.

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  9. labrator (1,844 comments) says:

    The obvious answer, for Labour rank & file, is KiwiTaxi. The press release would read something like this:

    A Labour government will nationalise all taxis by buying all cars from their current owners at fair market rates. They will then be offered honest, fair jobs working 40 hours a week with mandatory breaks even if there is a passenger in the car or if they are on the motorway. If their shift ends in the middle of a ride, the passenger will be transfered to any drivers working the nightshift at 1.5 hourly, their fare will subsequently be increased pro-rata to the transfer rate plus the transfer fee. Drivers will only work till 9pm at night and only 5 out of 30 rostered days to encourage better family life. All airports will be required to adopt KiwiTaxi’s conditions and there will be no fares chargeable for use of their ranks or access to their customers. We feel KiwiTaxi will solve the real problems taxi drivers face in a co-operative way.

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  10. JamesP (76 comments) says:

    After an expericence I had at the airport last week, I sympathise with the taxi drivers.

    The taxi driver and I were attempting to squeeze two large suitcases into the boot of the taxi. A massively fat security gaurd in a dayglo vest waddled over. At first I thought he was going to give us a hand. Instead he just stood there and watched. We loaded the suitcases but it was clear that the boot was full. I placed my partner’s small carry on back pack on the spare seat in the back. Whereupon the secuity guard started jabbering about “a policy” where all bags must go into the boot. I informed him there was no such requirement under the land transport act and that even if there were he, as a mere security guard, had no power to make me do so.

    During our drive home I chatted with the taxi driver and discovered that this was by no means an isolated incident.

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  11. ex-golfer (158 comments) says:

    Is this really all they can come up with?
    Yeah Nah Cunliffe must be weeping into his coffee at the lack of talent in the Labour caucus.
    Especially given he is beholden to life-long card-carriers and troughers like the clueless Fenton.

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  12. RRM (9,786 comments) says:

    Fuck’s sake

    If it’s that tough, why do we see Sheik Mohammed Al-Taxidriver and his 40 mates willingly queueing at the airport for hours their turn to be #1 on the grid, instead of going into town and making themselves useful – picking people up and taking them where they want to go?

    Airports are already supporting the taxi industry by charging an arm and a leg for car parking. And the Auckland airport bus is a joke if you’re not in one of the select downtown hotels it stops outside.

    Fuck off Darien Fenton.

    Fuck off Sheik Mohammed Al-Taxidriver.

    And raise your driver’s seat up higher, for Allah’s sake. It’s a miracle you can see the road at all, past all that religious sh!t you have blu-tacked onto your dashboard..

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  13. emmess (1,422 comments) says:

    Doesn’t really matter much.
    By the end of this decade, it is likely that the taxis will not have drivers anyway.

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  14. Sector 7g (240 comments) says:

    So Labour are saying that their approach to unskilled immigration has failed?
    Maybe this policy is to make it look like the visit from Labour on their arrival wasn’t just a vote grab.

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  15. RRM (9,786 comments) says:

    Serious suggestion though – Since the Taxi industry has proven to be mainly interested in serving the big taxi ranks at the airports and the big city hotels, why not have LTNZ introduce a special type of commercial registration for people who want to operate Indian tuk-tuks?

    (Possibly within the limits of certain defined CBD areas, to prevent them coming into contact with fast traffic?)

    They could provide Joe Punter on the street in CBD Akl, Wlg or CHC a service that the established taxi industry does not…

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  16. peterwn (3,239 comments) says:

    Perhaps owner-operators of corner dairies also need investigating. They work very long hours and their hourly rate must be well below minimum wage. They would not like it and do not wish it on their kids, who they hope will go to Medical School.

    Perhaps dairies should be forced to increase their prices, and minimum supermarket prices be no less than 90% of dairy prices.

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  17. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    The taxi industry was yet again, another Labour deregulation failure, with the intention of hiding unemployment created by Douglas’ fiscal policies (at the time revered by Mallard, Goff, King, and company). Palmer reckoned it should be deregulated so as to give anyone, who wanted to operate a cab a crack, without needing to buy into mainstream reputable companies, also lowering the testing procedures. It attracted a lower, loser-type element into a once profitable and lucrative environment, now we are left with an industry very few operators are proud to be involved with.

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  18. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

    Regardless of downstream implications of organisation problems at the airport, the headline is a lie.

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  19. chris (635 comments) says:

    When I about read this yesterday (I think it was in the NZ Herald) my first thought was: if it’s so bloody tough being a taxi driver and they supposedly get paid so badly, then why do they bother doing it? No one is forcing them be a taxi driver. But such logical thought seems to escape people like Darien Fenton who seem to think we must regulate, regulate and regulate some more in order to make sure taxi drivers earn “enough”.

    We stopped taxi-ing to and from Auckland Airport years ago because it’s so much cheaper to park-n-ride. Regulating that the drivers earn even more will simply push the price higher and higher and mean people are less and less likely to catch a taxi. A nice little vicious circle.

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  20. hmmokrightitis (1,585 comments) says:

    I do love how socialists massage facts together to make things appear as though the sky is falling. Take for example:

    “Many work 72 hours a week yet earn as little as $60 a day.”

    A casual reader would think, hmmm, 72 hours, $60 a day. Wow, that sucks, thats like $4.20 per hour!”

    But I defy ANYONE to find a cab driver working 72 hours a week AND earning just $60 per day. Most cabbies work part time, and have other sources of income. Some do work full time, many share a cab with other drivers. Anyone earning $4.20 an hours is under 9 years old, or a labour voter. Any thinking adult would not do it, they would be working minimum wage somewhere else.

    Yet again, labour lies by massaging facts and using smoke and mirrors.

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  21. Grizz (592 comments) says:

    I gave learnt to take the bus to the airport. It may take a little longer but at least I do not have to sell my kidney. I reserve Taxis for emergencies.

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  22. Rich Prick (1,669 comments) says:

    Fenton … focusing on the things that matter since, whenever. Perhaps she could do something about the relocation of the ranks at Auckland airport to about a million miles from where they would be convenient. Come on Fenton, this is what we pay you for.

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  23. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

    Regardless of downstream implications of organisation problems at the airport, the headline is a lie.

    Maybe the thumbs down people will say if the comment justified the response because they don’t like the truth, the thumbs down is because of the lie in the headline, it reflects on the truth of the situation instead of the overdramatization, the political propaganda of the headline upset them, or something else?

    I don’t use Auckland taxis, I see hundreds of them there and wonder how they make a living and given the numbers would expect problems. Regardless of Fenton’s intrusion into the situation, turning it into an addition to the anti-Labour election campaign is pathetic.

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  24. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Maybe the solution is to have more MPs like Jonathon Hunt.

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  25. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    300 rag head taxi imports and their pieces of shit cars can disappear from Auckland Airport everyday and it will not make one iota of difference to the service for passengers.

    Reputable companies , Co-Op , Corporate have no issues.

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  26. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    Not that I’ve been to the shithole Auckland in 35 years but it sounds like the Jafaland taxi drivers could mostly avoid first world charges/lack of profit and bring their rickshaws with them when they get on the boat! :)

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  27. MT_Tinman (3,108 comments) says:

    Labour campaigning for higher taxi fares

    Fantastic!

    Where do I join?

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  28. David Garrett (7,005 comments) says:

    “Rag head” PEB? Wash your mouth out!

    Good post DPF…although having once been a cabbie, I have to say I dont think the deregulation of the 80’s was a success overall…It certainly imposed competition on fares, but as others have noted, it also allowed a bunch of guys who can’t speak English and don’t know where they are going into the industry…and that is not a recent development.

    When I became a cabbie in 1979 you had to know the shortest routes from various points off by heart; the precise location of a whole heap of places; the boundaries where the tariffs changed etc. etc. Not exactly “the knowledge” London cabbies have to learn, but I’ll bet my arse half those driving cabs today couldnt pass it…

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  29. mikemikemikemike (323 comments) says:

    Is Labour really fighting so hard to find something to moan about that they have to raise this at parliament. Surely we have actual issues that need addressing?

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  30. David Garrett (7,005 comments) says:

    …and in another life 35 years later, I used to watch the Labour members get in the cabs at Parliament and Auckland airport when we all flew home on Thursday night…Like most of the rest of us, they used Corporate, Not Praise Allah Taxis from Otahuhu…

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  31. crash (1 comment) says:

    I hope Land Transport Commercial Vehicle Inspection Unit (CVIU) saw this article – because commercial drivers (including Cabbies) are limited to 70 hours a week after which they must take a 24 hour break. Any cabbie working 72 hours a week is a law breaker.

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  32. MT_Tinman (3,108 comments) says:

    Not exactly “the knowledge” London cabbies have to learn, but I’ll bet my arse half those driving cabs today couldnt pass it

    I’ll bet you I can!

    Among other things my “Area Knowledge” test was 13 A4 pages of normal type full of questions, some sections allowed one mistake, some none.

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  33. OneTrack (2,987 comments) says:

    “Like most of the rest of us, they used Corporate, Not Praise Allah Taxis from Otahuhu…”

    When Waitakere Man is paying for the ride, of course they did.

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  34. seanmaitland (498 comments) says:

    When I lived in Wellington 3 years ago I came to Auckland with a couple of mates and tried to get a taxi to Manakau city, and the guys at the front of the line refused to take us there because it wasn’t far enough – so we had to go down to the back of the line of taxis and ask the last driver.

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