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Labour calls for urgent action on licences

2000 web siteLabour transport spokesperson Harry Duynhoven says Cabinet must act immediately to rectify problems with the introduction of the new photo driver licence regime.

Seven weeks after the introduction of the new photo licences, and the associated changes in licence classes and learner requirements, Mr Duynhoven has dubbed the regime "another government disaster".

"Sadly any positive aspects of the system have been overshadowed and minimised by the shambles that has occurred in the introduction of the new licences," Mr Duynhoven said today.

"By this stage more than 300,000 new licences should have been issued to be on target for National's goal of having all licences processed within fourteen months of the new regime coming into effect on May 3rd. Latest numbers provided by the Minister of Transport suggest that fewer than 100,000 licences have actually been issued.

"Once again the Government's haste in pushing through reforms has been at the expense of good management. The system is a bureaucratic nightmare.

"The new licensing system has been accompanied by a complete change to licence classes and many special purpose licences such as taxis, buses, learners, heavy vehicles, and special purpose vehicles having new conditions applied.

"In addition, medical requirements, new requirements for eye-sight testing and associated difficulties involved with the new eye-sight testing machines have resulted in added costs and frustrating delays for drivers seeking new licences.

"Many problems and anomalies have shown up, as well drivers facing increases in fees which are far higher than promised.

Problems have included: licences belonging to complete strangers being posted to people; overdue photo licences not arriving before the current licence expires; people being charged extra for getting their licence a few days early; long queues; computers dying on Waiheke Island so licences couldn't be issued for weeks; many places without licensing outlets; the LTSA helpline taking over an hour to get through to; licensing outlets listed but not existing; people losing their job because of delays in getting a full licence under the new system; and people in outlying parts of the country facing backlogs or the need to travel significant distances to get their new licence.

"Labour calls on Maurice Williamson to exercise his authority as Minister of Transport and ensure that problems with the new licence regime are corrected, and that the fees are made less onerous for taxi and bus drivers, particularly those in a part time or relief capacity.

"Cabinet in turn must urgently review the process by which this bureaucratic shambles has been allowed to come about."

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