AM presenter Lloyd Burr slams taxis as 'parasites' as co-host Melissa Chan-Green shares pricey fare after Pink concert

  • 11/03/2024

The AM hosts are slamming independent taxi operators as "parasites" and "cowboys" after co-host Melissa Chan-Green says she was quoted a whopping $180 fare home from Pink – up on the usual $40 bill she'd expect for the ride.

She was trying to get home from the concert at Auckland's Eden Park at the weekend.

"I expect with that many people leaving the stadium at one time that if you want to jump in a taxi there's gonna be some kind of surge pricing, it's supply and demand, that's fine but I didn't quite expect this much of a surge," Chan-Green said.

After hearing the fee, she kept walking and eventually found another operator at a decent price.

However, the encounter sparked concern for tourists or other users who didn't know the usual price or didn't get a quote for the fare before getting in.

"They're like little hyenas, they're parasites," co-host Llyod Burr said, adding that it not only happens in Auckland but around hotspots like Queenstown.

"I thought why can they do this? It's because in 2017 they removed some of the regulations around meters and around taxi companies needing to be kind of given approval or signed off to be able to operate to make it kind of an even playing field for when Uber came on," Chan-Green explained.

But now there are renewed calls to tighten regulations back up.

Minister for Regulation David Seymour told AM he was open to looking at changes.

However, he added that practically it would be difficult to be out there inspecting drivers.

"If there's a suggestion about what could be done we'd definitely look at it but I suspect that at the end of the day politicians could make a lot of promises and the truth is that there's going to be some dodgy people out there but there's also a lot of businesses that are prepared to put their brand on the roof and they're protecting their reputation and they won't rip you off because they want you next time and I would say that's the overwhelming majority of the industry.

"If they're not prepared to stand by their brand then maybe don't get in or don't pay," he suggested.

Also on AM on Monday morning, Small Passenger Service Association's Warren Quirke called the industry "the wild west" explaining how he gets complaints, mainly about price, every weekend.

"We need more regulation in the industry and you'd have to admit it's unusual for an industry coming and saying 'we need more regulation', most industries want regulation removed, but in this situation it's not fair on passengers, it's not safe and there needs to be some change," he said.