A Wanaka yellow-cab company that tried to muscle in on Queenstown ranks has gone under.
Wan A Cab – which expanded into the resort less than a year ago – was placed in liquidation last week.
Forty unsecured creditors are owed about $27,000, according to liquidator Trevor Laing’s first report. The combined value of three vehicles owned by the company “is not expected to exceed $20,000”.
The Wakatipu’s six unsecured creditors include Queenstown Airport Corporation.
Laing says Wan A Cab’s Queenstown fleet is being repossessed this week while a “limited service” will remain in Wanaka.
The liquidation comes little over a month since Queenstown Taxis set up a Wanaka branch.
At the time, Wan A Cab boss Kevin Blackledge said Queenstown Taxis was “just a big company having a go at a wee company, trying to shut us down”.
Blackledge also alleged his rival had recently poached five drivers from his Queenstown operation.
Laing’s report states “a decision made to expand services into Queenstown does not appear to have been successful and appears to have contributed towards increased opposition to the company’s business in the Wanaka area”.
Queenstown Taxis director Dave Wright denies his Wanaka move was a tit-for-tat.
“We had the call to start from the Wanaka community.
“[Wan A Cab’s] service in Wanaka’s been seriously lacking so for us to step in there, we have filled a bit of a gap.”
Former Queenstown Taxis director Jackie Kukutai supports Blackledge’s allegation that her company poached Wan A Cab drivers: “It’s just individual business owners looking for relief drivers.
“Offers were made – some were accepted, some weren’t.”
Queenstown rival Alpine Taxis did the same, Kukutai says.
But Wright says poaching “hasn’t been a company policy”.
“We were approached by just about all [Wan A Cab] drivers, one by one, really.
“Drivers are in demand, and of course they want to get the best deal.”
Wright says Wan A Cab’s exit won’t cause fares to rise in Queenstown: “We recently had a price rise – it hadn’t been done for two and a half years.”
Meanwhile, he expects his company and Alpine will merge “by ski/World Cup time”.