Budget 2022: Government clears road for 64,000 people to get driver licenses

The Government is: 

  • Increasing funding for driver licence support
  • Removing barriers for people who have trouble obtaining driver licences
  • Strengthening testing infrastructure and making it more equitable
  • Reviewing the Graduated Driver Licensing System regulatory framework to ensure it is fit for purpose

Budget 2022 will see an estimated 64,000 New Zealanders 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.

“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,” Carmel 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.

“The additional support will 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.”

“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,” Michael Wood said.

“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.”

“This investment will allow MSD and Waka Kotahi to stabilise and expand access to quality driver license support for 64,000 New Zealanders, 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.”

Improving access to driver licensing will also have an impact on the safety of drivers on our roads.

"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,” Michael Wood said.

“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.

“This funding will drive job growth, create more equitable access to driver licences and make our roads safer,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

The investment in Budget 2022 is $86.5 million across four years.