Auckland, Mar 31(ANI): New Zealand Government has said that security cameras will become compulsory on taxis by the end of the year to curb serious assaults on drivers.
New Zealand Transport Minister Steven Joyce announced the decision after presenting his report to an industry reference group, following a safety review prompted by the murder of Indian-origin taxi driver Hiren Mohini in Auckland.
The Transport Ministry and the New Zealand Transport Agency had been working on the review following the death of Mohini, who was fatally stabbed by a passenger on January 31.
Calls for compulsory regime had first begun after the slaying of Christchurch cabbie Abdulrahman Ikhtiari, who was stabbed to death in December 2008.
Joyce said that mandatory cameras would apply only in large and medium centres, as drivers in smaller towns had a better idea of the nature of their clientele, and making cameras compulsory would be an unacceptable burden on smaller companies.
He also said that the cabinet would also consider compulsory duress alarms in cabs and steps to ensure that drivers get round-the-clock safety.
"We are very concerned about the safety and security of taxi drivers. There has been, as we know, two tragic incidents of taxi drivers being murdered in recent times. There has also been other assaults and ... a number that aren't reported and we're at the point, I think, where the importance of taxi driver safety must result in this change," Stuff.co.nz quoted Joyce, as saying.
Joyce said the cameras would cost about 1000 dollars to 1500 dollars each, and will lead to small rises in cab fares.
He also said that the move would also have benefits for the safety of passengers.
Meanwhile, New Zealand Taxi Federation executive director Tim Reddish said he was "delighted" with the move. (ANI)