The Transport Minister is pushing for security cameras in all city taxis and the taxi federation hopes they will be in place by the middle of next year.

Steven Joyce announced this morning that he would put to Cabinet the recommendation in May.

The move follows recent attacks on taxi drivers: on Saturday, two men held a knife to an Auckland cabbie's throat for $30 in coins, and in January driver Hiren Mohini was stabbed to death in Mt Eden for a $15.20 fare.

Many Auckland cabbies have since said that they are now scared to work at night.

NZ Taxi Federation executive director Tim Reddish said the federation had been pushing for a Government mandate for security cameras for three years.

"We're just delighted to achieve our objective and the fact that it will save lives," Mr Reddish said.

If the recommendations gets through Cabinet, he expects the first cameras would be installed toward the end of the year and be complete by the middle of 2011, Mr Reddish said.

He expected a 24-hour distress alarm - that would let cabbies call for help - would also be part of the new legislation.

Mr Reddish has previously said that in Queensland a mandate for security cameras had reduced attacks on drivers by as much as 75 per cent

Mr Joyce said the industry would pay for the cameras - a cost expected to increase fares by about 30 cents.

The mandate for cameras would be for "our largest centres", Mr Joyce said.

"While there are a number of issues to be considered all parties agree that many taxi drivers no longer enjoy safe working environments particularly at night and particularly in our main centres."

Mr Joyce has previously said the Government would consider also requiring screens but that was not on the table now.

There are about 7000 cabs operating in New Zealand. A penalty regime would be set up for those who did not comply.

Police have identified a suspect for Mr Mohini's murder after a long investigation, but the suspect's flatmates told the Herald earlier this month that he had left New Zealand on February 5 on a one-way ticket to "visit his sick grandfather".