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Contractors, ITO Urge Govt to change Licence Rules

Civil Contracting Industry And ITO Urge Government To Make Early Decision On Drivers’ Licence Rules

The New Zealand Contractors’ Federation and InfraTrain, the civil contracting industry training organisation, are urging the Government to make clear potential changes to the licensing rules.

The call was made by delegates during the New Zealand Contractors’ Federation’s annual conference being held in Christchurch (4-5 August).

Under the current drivers licence rules, young people aged 16 years and over can only apply for a Wheels, Tracks and Rollers endorsement necessary to work in the industry when they get their heavy trade licence at 18 years.

NZCF Chief Executive Richard Michael said the Federation and ITO have been lobbying for seven years to get the rules changed to make it easier for young people entering the industry to participate at a much higher level than is currently allowed.

The changes would see the Wheels, Track and Rollers endorsement split out so that young people could apply for it when they get their full Class 1 licence at 16 years.

“The civil contracting industry is facing a skills shortage at the moment. We are already struggling to get enough people into the industry, and this is at a time of high demand,” he said.

InfraTrain Chief Executive John Wills said the ITO had been working in partnership with the Government and industry to attract and train more people for the industry but the law was a considerable barrier to getting young people to enter the industry.

“This change does not mean that 16 year olds would be able to drive heavy machinery on roads. It means that they will be able to operate heavy equipment on construction sites, under close supervision.

“Young people are really hampered from reaching their potential by the current laws. It means we are losing them to other industries, at a time when we need them most to help deliver on key infrastructure projects,” he said.

During a key note speech on Thursday, the Minister of Transport Hon. Pete Hodgson told conference delegates that an announcement would be made on the issue but civil contractors were keen for that to happen sooner, rather than later.

“We would not like to see this issue delayed by the election. It is too important for delay,” Mr Wills said.


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