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Govt Accused Of Driver Re-Licensing Cover-Up



Media Release - for immediate release

20 June 1999

Extracts from a speech given in Cambridge this afternoon by Rt. Hon. Winston Peters.


New Zealand First has accused the government of covering up the true extent of the problems with people renewing their drivers' licences.

The Leader, Rt. Hon. Winston Peters, told a meeting in Cambridge today that the Transport Minister held an emergency meeting with Automobile Association officials during the week after they threatened to withdraw from the scheme.

The AA is administering the relicensing under contract, and there have been many problems, including drivers with adequate eyesight failing tests.

Mr Peters said that thirty per cent of the people seeking to renew their licences were running into problems.

"As a result of the problems, some individuals are becoming hostile and are abusing AA staff.

"There have even been two cases of assault," said Mr Peters.

He said that New Zealand First had asked the Transport Minister a series of questions about the faulty eye test provided to the AA by the Ministry of Transport.
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"We asked if the test was adequate, and whether those people who failed the test, but later passed a registered optometrist's test, would be refunded their costs by the Ministry.

"The Minister denied there was a problem and also denied there was a case for compensating people who paid for their own test," said Mr Peters.

He said that the drivers' licence renewal system was in chaos and that the Minister would have to admit it sooner, rather than later.

"The problem with the licences is typical of the incompetence of the dysfunctional Shipley administration.

"No amount of bluster from the Beehive will satisfy the thousands of New Zealanders who are being driven crazy trying to renew their drivers' licences through a flawed system," said Winston Peters.


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