Taxi police check Queenstown cab cameras

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GOVERNMENT taxi inspectors have carried out roadside checks on Queenstown cabs to ensure cameras are working.

New Zealand Transport Agency ran the ruler over local cabs after being made aware some cameras may not be working.

News of the inspections comes after Mountain Scene revelations last week that Green Cabs had so far failed to provide police with footage of an alleged assault and robbery of a driver two weeks ago.

Since August, 2011, taxis by law have to have cameras as a safety measure.

“We are currently satisfied that cameras are fully operational,” NZTA transport officers manager Dermot Harris says yesterday.

“On-going checks will be carried out to ensure continued compliance.”

Harris says any cab without a working camera will be ordered off the road and prosecution may follow.

Asked whether the Green Cabs camera was working at the time of the incident, Harris says it is not appropriate for the NZTA to comment during an on-going investigation.

Last week, Green Cabs area manager Martin Amott could not confirm to Mountain Scene that cameras within the cab were working.

Amott failed to respond to messages yesterday.

A Green Cabs driver, 24, was allegedly attacked by three men in Queenstown Recreation Ground and robbed of $700 and his cell phone at about 3.30am on Wednesday, February 5.

The passenger left the cab shortly before 3.30am to use the public toilet and when he didn’t return the driver followed him.

The driver was then held down by two men while a third rifled through his taxi.

Amott, last week, says the driver has recovered and is already back at work.

Police say they’ve been unable to access any cab footage but have now released descriptions of people they want to talk to.

They include one man police regard as a witness, who’d been phoned by the passenger at 3.15am and asked to pay the fare and then met him at the Man Street entrance to Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park.

The witness, who possibly lives at the park, is thin, white, 175cm tall, with curly dark shoulder-length hair.

The driver then took the passenger to the Recreation Ground.

Police want to speak to three other men, likely frequenting the CBD that night.

One is of Maori or Polynesian descent, early 20s, 172cm tall, solid build, and walks with a slight limp.

Another has olive or dark skin, late 20s, 182cms, muscly with a shaved head. He had numbers written on the back of his right hand.

The third is of Maori or Polynesian descent, about 20, 172cm tall and average build.

Officers also want to talk to a woman who used the driver’s cell phone to call the Green Cabs Call Centre at 4.32am that morning.