Background and general information about the review

Read question and answers on the small passenger services review consultation

Read questions and answers on the review


August 2017

The Land Transport Amendment Act 2017 received royal assent on 10 August 2017 and the changes for small passenger services will be in force from 1 October 2017. As well as the changes that the Act signals, changes to the relevant transport Rules and regulations will also come into force on this date.

More information on the new guidance and resulting changes(external link) is available on the NZTA website.

March 2017

Submissions on the Small Passenger Services Supporting Regulations Consultation Paper closed on 3 February 2017. Officials are considering the submissions and finalising advice to the Minister on the regulations.

The regulations, once approved, will form part of the wider regulatory changes to the small passenger services sector (along with the Land Transport Amendment Bill (the Bill) and the associated Land Transport Rules changes). The Bill is due to be reported back to the House in mid-March 2017.

December 2016

The Minister of Transport, Hon Simon Bridges and the Associate Minister of Transport, Hon Craig Foss, announced decisions to modernise the regulation of the small passenger services sector earlier this year. This followed a comprehensive review of the sector by the Ministry of Transport.

On 12 September, the Land Transport Amendment Bill (the Bill) was introduced to Parliament. Before making any changes, Ministers want to undertake further consultation on two issues required for implementation of the new regulatory system:

  • a cost-sharing rate for third party facilitated carpooling needs to be set
  • the new offences and penalties regulations for the Land Tranport Rules need to be finalised.

Read the consultation document on the Small Passenger Services supporting regulations [PDF, 714 KB]

Release of consultation paper

The Ministry of Transport released a consultation paper in the week beginning 19 December 2016, with submissions due prior to 5pm Friday 3 February 2017.

September 2016

Changes to small passenger service rules announced earlier this year are now before Parliament, as part of the Land Transport Amendment Bill.

Under the new regulatory system set out in the Bill, small passenger service drivers (including taxis, private hire, shuttles and dial-a-driver) will still be required to hold a passenger (P) endorsement. The P endorsement is an important measure to ensure that passengers can feel safe, irrespective of the particular service they may be using. However, the removal of some requirements, including the P endorsement course, will see the cost of obtaining P endorsements reduce.

Implementation of different parts of the future small passenger services system will be considered through the Bill and thorough the Land Transport Rules.

The Transport and Industrial Relations Committee is now considering the Bill and has called for submissions, which are due by 27 October 2016.

The NZ Transport Agency is now calling for submissions on the draft Land Transport rules. Consultation is open until Friday, 18 November 2016.

The table below illustrates which specific changes are part of the Bill, and which are being implemented through the Rules: 

Land Transport Amendment Bill Operator Licensing Rule and Worktime Logbooks Rule
Creates a small passenger service licence Extends the maximum worktime without a break to 7 hours for all small passenger services
Creates new requirements for drivers to drive under a transport service licence holder and for drivers of small passenger service vehicles to present vehicles for inspection, when required to do so, by the NZ Transport Agency Specifies new requirements around third party facilitated carpooling
Creates a requirement for certain records to be kept under facilitated cost-sharing arrangements Specifies in-vehicle camera requirements and exceptions
Removes mandatory signage, including Braille Removes the requirement to have passed a practical driving test in the last 5 years
Removes the P endorsement course (through an amendment to the Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Rule 1999) Removes the mandatory panic alarm requirement for taxis
Extends the exemption on child restraints to all small passenger services (currently taxis are exempted from having to provide child restraints). This is through an amendment to the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004. Removes the mandatory requirement to calculate a fare through the use of a meter for taxis
Prohibits smoking in all vehicles used in a small passenger service in the future system (through the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990) Removes requirement to operate on a 24/7 basis for taxis
Removes approved taxi organisations Removes the Area Knowledge certificate and English language requirement
  Removes the Certificate of Knowledge of Law and Practice

May 2016

Release of submissions

The Ministry of Transport initially consulted with stakeholders on the Small Passenger Services Review in April 2015.

Further consultation took place when the Ministry released a consultation paper on 14 December 2015.

Public submissions on the review are now available, as well as the Summary and Analysis of Submissions from the February 2016 consultation.

Find out more, and access the submissions

Regulating app-based ride and taxi services report

The International Transport Forum has released a report looking at principles for regulating app-based ride and taxi services.

The paper highlights four policy insights, recommending that governments:

  • Keep the regulation framework of for-hire passenger transport services as simple and uniform as possible
  • Encourage innovative and more flexible regulation of for-hire transport services
  • Focus policy regarding for-hire passenger transport on the needs of consumers and society
  • Embrace data-led regulation to improve societal outcomes


April 2016

The Government is changing the rules for small passenger services. Under the changes the same rules will apply to all services that connect passengers with customers (including taxi, private hire, ridesharing, and dial a driver services).

Some rules that impose costs on operators but which no longer provide significant benefits will be removed.

This will allow all operators to compete on an even footing and to differentiate from competitors as part of their brand on aspects such as cost, service, environmental footprint and philosophy.
Consumers will have a range of services to choose from, and can be confident that they can use these services safely. Drivers will also feel safe in their places of work.

The changes simplify rules, while maintaining a focus on safety for passengers, drivers, and vehicles.

February 2016

Submissions to the review closed on 12 February 2016. Officials are considering all of the submissions and finalising policy advice to Government on the review’s outcomes. The Ministry will provide Government with advice on the review in the near future.

14 December 2015

In July 2015 the small passenger services review team delivered advice to Hon Craig Foss, Associate Minister of Transport. Officials have since provided advice to both Ministers of Transport on options for a future regime. Before making any changes, Ministers want to undertake further consultation on the review’s proposals for the future.

Release of consultation paper

The Ministers of Transport decided that before making any decisions on the future of the small passenger services sector, public consultation should take place. The Ministry of Transport released a consultation paper in the week beginning 14 December 2015.

The Ministry of Transport would like to thank all those who submitted their views on the future of the small passenger services sector.

Submissions closed at 5pm Friday 12 February 2016.

31 March 2015

The small passenger service (SPS) review is underway. The Ministry of Transport has begun working with the NZ Transport Agency and the Police to review the SPS sector.

Progress on policy development

We are working on identifying what outcomes the Government is looking from the SPS sector. We are also considering how, and why, the Government might intervene to ensure SPSs can operate in a dynamic market and that passengers have confidence that they can use SPS services safety.

We are also sourcing data and research to inform our views and to support potential options.

Engagement with stakeholders

We are setting up engagement sessions with a range of stakeholders from the sector including:

  • taxi industry
  • private hire industry
  • public/passengers representative groups
  • government stakeholders
  • technology service providers.

The first of these sessions will be held in late March/early April and provides an opportunity for the Ministry to hear the sector’s perspective on the key issues with the current regulatory framework. We are also listening to what aspects of the SPSV sector the industry thinks are most important for the future.

The second session was be held in May and allowed the Ministry to discuss its thinking around the issues and the future for the SPS sector, as well as present some potential options. This session provided an opportunity for the sector to provide feedback on the potential options.

26 February 2015

A review of transport licensing law applying to small passenger service vehicles (SPS) is underway, as announced by Associate Transport Minister, Craig Foss on 20 January 2015.

Read the Minister’s announcement on the Beehive website(external link)

The Ministry of Transport is leading the review, working with the NZ Transport Agency(external link) and the New Zealand Police(external link).

The review will consider the regulatory framework for SPS (such as taxis and private hire services) contained in the Land Transport Act 1998(external link) and Land Transport Rule: Operator Licensing 2007(external link).

Background to the review

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. The review is to ensure that New Zealand’s regulatory environment for SPSs continues to be fit for purpose and flexible enough to accommodate new technologies.

There are a range of taxi companies and hire car services operating in New Zealand that provide or use smartphone booking apps. These apps are broadly compatible with the current law, provided there is a clear distinction between a taxi and a private hire service.

What aspects of the SPS regulatory regime will the review consider?

The review will consider transport licensing requirements applying to taxis, shuttles, private hire vehicles, and dial-a-driver services.

It will not consider rental cars, freight, buses, driver licensing, vehicle recovery services, work time and log-books as these are not related to small passenger services, or else, as in the case of logbooks, already take into account new technologies.

What is the review’s objective?

The review aims to:

  • ensure the cost-effective and efficient regulation of the SPS industry
  • ensure the regulations are future proofed and allow for development in technology
  • provide a regulatory framework for a SPSV industry that delivers benefits for consumers and New Zealand

What are the timeframes for the review?

The review will be completed by mid 2015, with advice provided to the Associate Transport Minister.

If the review concludes that changes to the current system are needed, and Government agrees, the review will consist of amendments to legislation. Any proposed changes to the Land Transport Act 1998(external link) and Land Transport Rule: Operator Licensing 2007(external link) will involve a public consultation process. This may occur later in 2015.

Further information

If you would like to know more about the SPS review, you can read the questions and answers on the SPS review.

Find out more about the current transport licensing requirements for SPSs on the NZ Transport Agency's website(external link)