The Ministry of Taxis

July 28th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

When it comes to walking the talk, it seems staff would rather just take a cab.

Last year ministry staff took more than 1000 taxi rides for less than $10 – at the same time as officially advocating walking as a way to increase New Zealand’s low levels of physical activity.

In the 2012-13 financial year, staff based in Wellington charged taxpayers for 8645 taxi trips with 1076 of those for journeys costing less than $10. Another 1942 were taken for $10 to $15.

The Star-Times took a $10 taxi in central Auckland to see how far it would take us. We travelled 1.7km. The return journey on foot, at a leisurely stroll, took just over 16 minutes.

That’s around four taxi trips a day of under $10. It is hard to get a fare for under $10. The initial cab hire and phone call is almost $5 so you won’t get to go much more than a km.

The Ministry of Health’s physical activity guidelines suggest people should be active every day in every way possible, doing at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week.

The ministry’s website says you should walk whenever you can. “Remember: Even small increases in physical activity can produce measurable health benefits,” the site says.

Do as we say, not as we do!

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30 Responses to “The Ministry of Taxis”

  1. Manolo (13,780 comments) says:

    The bureaucrautic elites are never short of finding ways to spend taxpayer’s money.

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  2. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    The Ministry of Health has two main offices in Wellington: one at the top of Molesworth Street and one at the bottom of the Terrace. A taxi fare between the two would be about $10, so I think that’s where the money has been going. It’s about a five minute walk.

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  3. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    is 1000 a lot? how many staff members are there?

    its in shitty wellington i take it? id cab too

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  4. unaha-closp (1,165 comments) says:

    We make them work in Wellington.

    Its a trade off between cheap leases because of the crap weather and paying for taxis 5 min down the road because of the crap weather.

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  5. burt (8,272 comments) says:

    It’s like the CEO of Greenpeace flying to work each day in a private Jet. Bloody socialists they are all the same – do as we say not as we do!

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  6. Yogibear (366 comments) says:

    This does not surprise

    I had cause to visit the Ministry of Health building in Molesworth some years ago for a 6 month engagement. Its 2 stories high, yet my hosts rarely, if ever used the stairs.

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  7. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    Was Jonathon Hunt ever their minister?

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  8. kowtow (8,487 comments) says:

    Other Peoples Money. Easy to spend.

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  9. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    Do as we say, not as we do!

    Anyone want to craft the outraged Taxpayer Union press release upon it being revealed that staff at the Ministry of Health are spending a minimum of 287 hours a year ambling between meetings at a minimum cost of $11,038 (and much more if there were multiple people in each taxi between meetings), when the use of taxis would have considerably reduced the travel time involved? Instead, these public servants put their ideology (“walking is better!”) ahead of the public purse!!!!

    It really is no win, isn’t it?

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  10. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    Fuck’s sake.

    My boss charges me out at $170/hr and I still find it’s better to just walk to most meetings in Wellington.

    You can walk a few blocks in the time it takes to call Wellington Combined, tell the robot you need to speak to a real operator so you can give them your PIN number, and then wait for the taxi to come for you!

    And I generally organise it so that the walk back along the waterfront to the office is my lunch break :cool:

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  11. MarkF (102 comments) says:

    AG if anybody wanted to craft such a press release. It would be easily countered by say that, by the time you have rung up for the taxi and waited for it to arrive you could have taken the 5 minute walk and been ahead of the game.

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  12. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    AG if anybody wanted to craft such a press release. It would be easily countered by say that, by the time you have rung up for the taxi and waited for it to arrive you could have taken the 5 minute walk and been ahead of the game.

    You assume that people call their own taxis? Why? I would guess one person, perhaps in administration, would arrange most taxis, probably in advance :-)

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  13. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    AG if anybody wanted to craft such a press release. It would be easily countered by say that, by the time you have rung up for the taxi and waited for it to arrive you could have taken the 5 minute walk and been ahead of the game.

    Don’t get me wrong – I think it is daft not to walk, too. But let’s also recognise that the Taxpayers Union would find something to criticise here no matter what practice was followed!

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  14. MarkF (102 comments) says:

    So Graeme you think that they are that well organized?

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  15. burt (8,272 comments) says:

    AG

    The point is – these people are telling us to walk more – a $10 taxi ride is pathetic no matter how you try and spin the cost v value equation.

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  16. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @burt,

    I agree. They should be walking.

    And if they were walking, I have no doubt that the Taxpayers Union would be telling us that the cost v value equation means that they should be in taxis.

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  17. Grendel (1,002 comments) says:

    How about instead AG we just get rid of them, and see if anything in life changes for the worse?

    would anyone notice if 1000 wellington bureaucrats just stopped working?

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  18. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    There we are, Grendel!

    You can write Taxpayers Union press releases from now on!!!

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  19. Drp (8 comments) says:

    passenger to taxi driver:
    “just round it up to $10.50 – keeps the taxpayer union happier”

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  20. burt (8,272 comments) says:

    Drp

    That would be right – socialism is all about appearing to be doing the right thing while all the time just spending as much of other peoples money as you feel like.

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  21. Rich Prick (1,705 comments) says:

    Judging by the state of many of the bodies exiting No 1 The Terrace at 4.30pm, they really could do with the exercise.

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  22. Igotta Numbum (463 comments) says:

    How are they supposed to scoff 3 custard squares, 2 cans of V, and smoke 3 fags all at the same time if they’re walking?

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  23. Captain Pugwash (98 comments) says:

    Back in the day we used Taxis, as it was considered cheaper & more effective use of out time, especially considering when it was two or more people & we were carrying “a shite load of documents”, and of course we got a considerable discounted flat rate CBD taxi fare.

    Then we got this very eager beaver, never kissed a girl, efficient sort of chap, working as an accountant. We were told to use public transport, to go from one end of Wellington to the other, say an hour additional travel time. They then decided that we should walk as it would save a buss fare, and take about the same time, however it was awkward carrying “a shite load of documents” as well, so they decided we could courier the “shite load of documents”, walk there & back.

    Then some bright spark of a university graduate, worked out that using a Taxi was actually cheaper & more effective use of our time. (Especially as we got a discount flat fare anywhere in the CBD), the taxi ride was 5 to 15min as opposed to 30 to 60min walking/public transport.

    Looks like we will be going back to three of us walking, for an hour, & couriering documents, but hay we will have saved $10 on a Taxi fare.

    Fucking brilliant!!!

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  24. Yogibear (366 comments) says:

    Corporal Pugwash

    Your inference is every one of the 1000 under $10 taxi trips had an overriding business need (your 3 people with a shite load of documents) for a taxi. I don’t disagree that there will be cases where it makes sense, but 1000 taxi rides under $10 – you have to be kidding

    In terms of your range of choices, its not one or the other, it should actually be all of the above.

    Its called judgement.

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  25. artemisia (242 comments) says:

    Meetings don’t need to be face to face. Conference calls work just fine in most cases. No taxi. No shoe leather. No travel time.

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  26. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    “My boss charges me out at $170/hr”

    does that include kissing?

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  27. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    it can include anything you want dime.

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  28. Captain Pugwash (98 comments) says:

    …”Meetings don’t need to be face to face. Conference calls work just fine in most cases. No taxi. No shoe leather. No travel time.”

    You obviously don’t get out much do you?

    OTH, I think you’ve just got rid of all business travel, & business hotels.

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  29. MT_Tinman (3,188 comments) says:

    They take taxis instead of walking, they get unfit, they get sick due to being so unfit, they die early, there become less Health Ministry staff and therefore less Health Ministry “Do what I say” PC crap.

    Money well spent in my opinion.

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  30. Steve (North Shore) (4,563 comments) says:

    Expecting a Public Servant to walk instead of being carried is just never going to happen.
    They are lazy, that’s why they don’t have REAL jobs

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