Taxi school helping students cheat could be shut down

Taxi school helping students cheat could be shut down

A taxi licensing school caught helping students cheat on tests could be shut down by the Government regulator within weeks.

On Monday night Newshub uncovered the scam being run in south Auckland. Now more people have come forward claiming the same thing is happening at another provider.

A Newshub investigation into the Super City Taxi Training School in Otahuhu found prospective taxi drivers were openly being given the answers during exams.

Sunny Sehgal, who was working with Newshub to expose the scam, managed to acquire both his Passenger Endorsement Certificate and his Area Knowledge Certificate, despite knowing nothing about taxis.

"Every time I saw students with answers, so I think that is the game that they play - they give all the answers to get more students to come in," says Mr Sehgal.

"Shocked and disappointed - we take these things very, very seriously," says NZTA national operations manager Kate Styles. "As I've mentioned before, we've swung into action today."

Swinging into action could mean the end for the Super City Taxi Training School, as NZTA has the power to shut it down.

Until Newshub revealed the issues, NZTA's regular audits didn't pick up anything.

"We are currently strengthening the audit system around course providers at the moment," says Ms Styles.

But this isn't the only disreputable operator. Karl Burnett, known to Kiwi TV viewers as Nick from Shortland Street, sat his P endorsement test at another NZTA provider in Auckland last year.

He says the answers were dished out for the first test, and he was shocked at what happened when it came to the closed-book exam.

"He said right, 'Close your books,' and we were thinking well, we're going to have to struggle to remember all this stuff.

"He then put the answers up on the projector screen. He said, 'Well, it's a closed-book exam and your books are closed,' and then he waited for everyone to write down the answers before moving onto the next slide - every answer."

Burnett says he studied hard for the tests, but went along with the instructions to copy as he'd already paid $700.

"No one wanted to say anything, because they wanted the P endorsement and they'd paid good money. But no, I was not happy in the way we actually got it."

When Newshub conducted its investigation into the Super City Training School, the school would only accept cash payments, and no receipts were given.

The IRD doesn't comment on specific investigations, but told Newshub "it takes tax evasion seriously". NZTA says it may also need to refer some matters to the police.

NZTA says it's reviewing the footage screened by Newshub. It will also be looking at the certificates issued by Super City Taxi Training School and interviewing some or all course participants.

That number could be hundreds.

If you have further information, please contact Michael Morrah.