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Labour ignored driving licence fraud claims

Pansy Wong MP
National Party Asian Relationships Spokeswoman

22 March 2005

Labour ignored driving licence fraud claims

National’s Asian Relationships spokeswoman, Pansy Wong, says Labour has known about driver licensing fraud for months, but appears to have done nothing about it.

She is commenting on reports that people are buying licences for $400.

“For years there have been complaints made about outrageous scams and advertisements. This kind of unacceptable conduct has gone on for too long, with nothing being done,” says Mrs Wong.

In December 2004 the Minister for Transport Safety, Harry Duynhoven, replied in answer to written questions that Land Transport New Zealand had received a complaint about an advertisement being placed in an ethnic newspaper which guaranteed that applicants would pass their driver licence tests.

He said the matter was investigated and it was found that no offence had been committed with such a guarantee, and “this is dependent on specific driving expectations between the driving instructor and the student at the time of contract”.

Mrs Wong also asked whether LTNZ monitors ethnic newspapers for these kinds of advertisements and was told by Mr Duynhoven in written reply that LTNZ “does not have staff within the organisation who have the ability to translate and monitor ethnic publications in New Zealand”.

“Mr Duynhoven has known about these claims for months, yet it has taken media coverage for him to investigate these claims, where written questions couldn’t.

“He has not instructed LTNZ staff to monitor ethnic newspapers for these advertisements. He is not serious about stopping this corrupt behaviour.

“If he were serious, something would have been done about this long ago,” says Mrs Wong.


Ends


(Attachment: Written Parliamentary questions and answers)

Written Questions and Answers to the Minister for Transport Safety
18517 (2004). Pansy Wong to the Minister for Transport Safety (15 December 2004):
Does the Land Transport Safety Authority monitor ethnic newspapers for advertisements from driving instructors offering driving lessons; if not why not?
Hon Harry Duynhoven (Minister for Transport Safety) replied: Land Transport New Zealand (formally the Land Transport Safety Authority) advises me that it does not monitor ethnic newspapers for advertisements from driving instructors offering driving lessons.

These newspapers are not monitored by the Land Transport NZ is because it does not have staff within the organisation who have the ability to translate and monitor ethnic publications in New Zealand.

18518 (2004). Pansy Wong to the Minister for Transport Safety (15 December 2004):
Has the Land Transport Safety Authority received any reports, comments, letters or complaints about driving instructors, and ethnic media advertisments relating to driving lessons; if yes, what action has been taken on those complaints?
Hon Harry Duynhoven (Minister for Transport Safety) replied: Land Transport New Zealand (formerly Land Transport Safey Authority) advises me it has received seven complaints in total that have related to complaints about driving instructors, and ethnic media advertisements relating to driving lessons. Four of these complaints were not as a result of ethnic advertising.

One complaint has been received that related to a person advertising driving lessons in an ethnic newspaper. The matter was investigated and the person concerned was advised of the requirement to hold a current "I" endorsement and the process to follow in which to obtain one. As a result the advertising ceased and Land Transport NZ received no further complaints.

One complaint was received about an advertisement in an ethnic newspaper that as part of a driving lesson the driving instructor would be able to take a student over an approved test route. The complainant was advised that while this is not desirable it is not illegal to ascertain a test route and share with others. No action was required.

One complaint was received about advertising found in an ethnic newspaper guaranteeing that an applicant will pass their driver test. The matter was investigated and no offence committed with such a guarantee. (This is dependent on specific driving expectations between the driving instructor and the student at the time of contract)

One complaint was received about an Asian gentleman providing driving instruction. The complainant was unable to provide any direct evidence of instruction having been provided for hire or reward. The gentleman concerned was advised of the requirement to hold a current "I" endorsement and the process to follow in which to obtain one. The complainant was advised that without any direct evidence of instruction Land Transport NZ could not take the matter further.

Three complaints were received concerning suspected unlicensed driving instruction. All complaints were investigated but no evidence on providing a service for hire or reward was found.

8589 (2004). Pansy Wong to the Associate Minister of Transport (17 June 2004):
How often does the LTSA carry out monitoring and auditing of the private contractors who run the license testing system and what performance criteria do they have to satisfy?
Hon Harry Duynhoven (Associate Minister of Transport) replied: The Land Transport Safety Authority advises me that testing Officers are audited at least once every three months.

Testing Officers are required to comply with the standards and procedures set out in:

The Testing Officer's Manual issued by the Director of the LTSA; and

The NZ Driver Licensing (1998) Ltd ISO 9001 Manual


8599 (2004). Pansy Wong to the Associate Minister of Transport (17 June 2004):
What qualifications should driver licensing testing officers possess?
Hon Harry Duynhoven (Associate Minister of Transport) replied: The Land Transport Safety Authority advises me that Testing Officers are not required to have any prior qualifications, but must have a current Testing Officer's endorsement on their driver licence. Certain criteria must be met before an endorsement can be approved, including driving standard, medical fitness and Police character check.

There is no approved course (qualification) for those applying for a Testing Officer (O) endorsement. Instead these applicants must meet the criteria set out in Schedule 7 of the Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Rule 1999. Refer to attachment. The applicant is tested by an LTSA Compliance Officer (Driver Licensing Auditor), this is to test:

The applicant's knowledge of the law

The applicant's ability to drive

The applicant's ability to assess the diving capability of others.

8593 (2004). Pansy Wong to the Associate Minister of Transport (17 June 2004):
What actions has the LTSA taken to detect driving instructors who charge for their services without being properly qualified to do so?
Hon Harry Duynhoven (Associate Minister of Transport) replied: The Land Transport Safety Authority advises me that it, via its regional compliance operations, from time to time conducts covert investigations to detect driving instructors operating without the required endorsements.

The LTSA also relies on information passed to it by the public and its driver licensing agents. This information is actioned on a case by case basis.

The driver testing industry is in general very professional and encourages information to be forwarded to LTSA for action, when appropriate.


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