Taxi company Uber says it has no plans to launch its services in Otago and Southland until a Government review is complete - but that hasn't stopped the controversial firm offering sweeteners to the public today.

"We are waiting on the recommendations from the Government's current small passenger service vehicle review," Uber New Zealand general manager Oscar Peppitt said.

But in a nationwide promotion, the company is giving Queenstown people a taste of its service today.

Uber allows people to request rides from a mobile app and was launched in Auckland and Wellington last year.


Today, the company plans to deliver free ice cream in Queenstown, Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland.

The move has prompted a warning from resort taxi boss Grant Scannell.

The Queenstown Taxis managing director said he had no problem with a new taxi business entering the market but wanted everyone to be on a "level playing field" and abiding by the same legislation.

Uber cars should be made to install the same security measures, including cameras, he said.

"It cost us a lot of money to have cameras installed in 2011 and that was legislation; that was not just to protect the passenger but to protect the driver."

Since the security measures were installed, assaults in taxis had dropped significantly in New Zealand.

The security measures were "one of the best moves" the industry had made, Mr Scannell said.

Passenger safety is an important focus of the Government review.


The Ministry of Transport is working with the New Zealand Transport Agency and police at present to review the small passenger vehicle service sector.

It is examining how and why the Government might intervene as the sector faces a changing market.

The review will involve the taxi industry, private hire industry, public/passengers representative groups, government stakeholders and technology service providers.