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Licensing debacle in Wanganui

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A Wanganui man has his fingers-crossed that his new driving licence will finally arrive this week - after a six week wait, three temporary licences and four requests for his photograph.

Labour police spokesperson George Hawkins says the introduction of new driving licences has been a disaster from whoa to go, and the patience of the New Zealand public continues to be tested by the Government's ineptitude.

"The letters and calls coming in to my office combine to paint a disastrous picture.

"The ordeal faced by a 64 year old Wanganui man is a typical example.

"The AA seemed unable to work out how much his licence should cost or how long a period it should be for. They even wanted him to pay $300 to renew a bus licence he hadn't held for 30 years, but which has somehow turned up on his temporary licence.

"The LTSA office told him the confusion was of his own making, for going in 4 days before his birthday. That contradicts all the advice issued by the Government.

"Then things went really mad. His photo was deemed unusable, although no-one could explain why. He was forced to line up twice more to have photos taken. Last week a letter arrived requesting a fourth photo, 38 days after the first was taken.

"He was forced to drive from Wanganui to Palmerston North - using the third of his temporary licences - to try and sort out the mess. He's now been told to expect his new photo licence in the mail this week.

"No-one should have to put up with this level of incompetence," Mr Hawkins said.

"In the end, the Transport Minister Maurice Williamson must take responsibility for pushing through flawed legislation bringing in major reforms without the machinery in place to handle the changes."

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