Thursday, April 25, 2024

$86m investment driving license testing improvements

More than 60,000 New Zealanders are set to benefit from improved access to driver licensing testing and training, Social Development and Employment Minister, Carmel Sepuloni and Minister of Transport, Michael Wood announced today.

The Ministers announced the government would investment $86.5 million across four years to boost driver licence support by strengthening testing infrastructure and reviewing the Graduated Driver Licensing System regulatory framework to ensure it is fit for purpose.

“Having a driver licence is a key requirement for up to 70% of jobs, yet a big portion of our community can’t access training or tests due to the costs and other barriers. This disproportionally disadvantages Māori, Pacific peoples, sole parents and rural communities,” Minister Sepuloni said.

“This investment will provide targeted support for people to progress through the driver licensing system by providing high-quality lessons.

“Having a drivers licence is also a pre-requisite for many jobs so we expect this will help get more people into work.”

She said the additional support would also address critical equity issues that can be caused by not having a driver licence.

“There are many people in our prisons whose journey to criminal records started with driving fines for driving without a licence. Today is a big step towards changing this,” the Minister said.

“At the heart of the Government’s economic recovery plan is people. We know when we invest in New Zealanders, they have greater opportunities to prosper, provide for their families, and contribute to our nation’s success,” said Minister Wood.

“This initiative will help reduce debts from fines for not having a driver licence and the related risk of getting a criminal record. It will increase the options available for Police referrals and help offer more driver training support.”

He said the investment will allow MSD and Waka Kotahi to stabilise and expand access to quality driver license support for around 64,000 New Zealanders, by improving access to testing through initiatives such as partnering with communities and increasing Driver Testing Officer capability and capacity.

“Community partners play a key role in supporting people to achieve their licence, that’s why we are committed to building community providers’ capability and capacity to help them provide quality driving training.”

Minister Wood said improving access to driver licensing will also have an impact on the safety of drivers.

“We want everyone who uses our roads to get home safely to their friends and whānau. Ensuring drivers on our roads are appropriately skilled and licenced is an important part of this.”

“Removing the barriers to driver licence training not only helps to prevent fines, court and the risk of criminal penalties, but may also save lives and reduce the devastating impact a serious crash can have on communities,” he said.

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