New Zealand mayors' Uber ratings revealed: Who had a perfect five out of five?

Composite of NZ mayors Wayne Brown, Neil Holdom and Rehette Stoltz with Uber app on a phone
Photo credit: Photo illustration - Newshub; Images - RNZ / Newshub / Getty Images

By Katie Fitzgerald of RNZ

Uber's rating system has revealed which New Zealand mayors have the best ratings for travel on council business.

New Plymouth mayor Neil Holdom has the highest Uber rating for mayors in New Zealand. That's because he's got the highest possible rating, a perfect five out of five stars.

Holdom says he's always happy to chat to his drivers, although he doesn't tell them what he does.

"I always like to talk to taxi drivers and Uber drivers because they're like the pulse of a local area. I primarily use Uber in Wellington and in Auckland and so you generally have some pretty cool conversations and they will generally tell you what's going on."

Uber driver Shelley Winiana has a reputation for giving out shortbread while taking passengers around Hamilton.

She's got a driver rating of 4.99, and says passengers get a low rating for doing things like touching parts of the car they weren't supposed to, drinking alcohol and inappropriate language.

If they're really bad, she won't be seeing them again.

"The one good thing about Uber is if you give them a one star rating they will ask if you don't want to be paired with them again."

RNZ asked the mayors of the 14 cities where Uber operates in New Zealand for their rating. A few say they haven't used Uber for council business, but some had.

Alongside Holdom's five, Lower Hutt mayor Campbell Barry has a 4.98, Gisborne mayor Rehette Stoltz has a 4.93, Nelson mayor Nick Smith a 4.84 and Auckland mayor Wayne Brown a 4.7.

The national average rating is 4.88.

RNZ also asked Government ministers for their ratings, but all declined.

Uber drivers can't see what a person's rating is before picking them up, but Uber says if your rating drops below the minimum average in your city, you could end up losing access to some or all parts of the app.

Driver David works in Auckland, where the average rating is 4.86. He's had one notable passenger, but he only saw the first name Dan, so didn't know who he was driving until he asked what the event the sharply dressed man was headed to was for.

"I said, 'What are you going there for?' He said a foundation event. I said, 'Oh nice one, what for?' He said rugby. I said, 'Did you use to play?' and he said, 'Yeah, I used to play'. I said, 'What level did you play, Dan?' and he goes, 'All Black'.

"I went all right, okay, turned around and said, 'Dan, what's your surname?' He goes, 'Carter'. I said, 'Oh yeah, I recognise you, you're the fella from the Chemist Warehouse advert'."

David rarely gives out a low rating unless it's deserved.

"I've only given out three one-star ratings, everyone else gets five stars. Of the three that got bad ones, one of them was a young girl, like 18-19. She put her feet up on the centre console where your handbrake is, and then she was vaping."

He said the main thing people need to remember when they're in an Uber is that it's not their car - it's the drivers.

Things like smelly food or making a mess could be a problem for the person who spends all night sitting in it.

Holdom also has some advice for people working on their uber rating.

"I've worked in hospitality and done all sorts of jobs, just treat people in the service industry the way you'd like to be treated because they're hard-working people.

"I think if you treat people with respect and ask some questions about themselves and listen generally, you'll get along with anyone."

And remember, it might be best to keep your feet off the dash.