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More Action Needed To Help Kiwis Get Their License

The Government’s latest attempt to fix the driver licensing system will do nothing to support Kiwis struggling to get their license, says Driving Change Network coordinator Wendy Robertson.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is proposing changes to allow learner and restricted car and motorcycle licenses to be validated for 10 years when renewed – doubling the current five-year-limit.

“Extending the validity period does nothing to address the inequities which leave people unable to gain their full license,” Robertson says.

“We know people want to get their full licence, they just need help and assistance in doing so.”

Capping license validity at five years was introduced in 2014 to encourage drivers to progress to their full license. However, this isn’t occurring and the issue of drivers staying on their learners and restricted licenses remains prevalent.

There is an estimated 144,000 people have stalled part-way through the drivers licensing system.

In 2019, a two year extension on expiring licenses was granted while the Government searched for a way to support people to progress through the licensing system.

“In that time there have been no solutions or serious investment made to deal with the issue of people not progressing through the system.

“It is not rocket science – people aren’t progressing to their full license because the system is not accessible.

“Access to a suitable vehicle, a licensed driver to learn from, the cost of lessons and the test itself are all barriers people face in our current licensing system.”

Driving Change Network has written a submission on the proposed changes (attached). They object reverting to the 10-year validity and state changes should not be made until the current review of the graduated driver licensing system is completed and equitable access is put in place.

“Until this review has been completed, Driving Change Network recommends a further two-year extension to the nearly 100,000 licences that are about to expire, along with clear communication to those users regarding what they need to do and where to go should they need assistance.”

Many of the challenges people face could be overcome through better investment in community organisations who are able to assist people on the ground, Robertson says.

“Those most at risk of not progressing and holding a full licence are often from lower income families. Without a licence, employment opportunities are fewer, fuelling a cycle of inequality.”

“Making bold changes to the system would help thousands of Kiwis move towards a better future.”


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