Uber complaint sparks review of taxi rules

A review of taxi regulations has been launched following a complaint from new industry player Uber.

The company - which allows people to order rides on their smartphones, as an alternative to a taxi - has complained of police booting passengers out of cars, because they have been operating without licensed meters.

The police action followed complaints from other taxi companies.

Uber today urged customers to ask Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss to intervene.

Mr Foss announced this afternoon he had asked officials to review the regulatory framework for small passenger services, such as taxis and private-hire cars.

"The Government is a strong supporter of innovations that enable all New Zealanders and businesses in New Zealand, traditional or otherwise, to enjoy the benefits of new technology," he said in a statement.

"We aim to ensure New Zealand's regulatory environment is both fit for purpose and flexible enough to accommodate new technologies."

While booking apps for services like Uber were "broadly compatible" with the current law, there needed to be a clear distinction between taxis and private hire services, he said.

Mr Foss said he had met with players in both industries already.

"There are a range of views that need to be taken into account and a number of implications to consider. I have asked officials to conduct a review of the relevant regulatory framework, to be completed by mid-2015."

Any legislative changes would include a consultation process.


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