The government will spend almost $87 million on drivers' licences for an estimated 64,000 people, over the next four years.
Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni and Transport Minister Michael Wood announced the programme at a pre-budget speech this morning, arguing the investment would increase employment opportunities for the unlicensed and reduce fines or the chance of getting a criminal record.
“Having a driver's 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,“Sepuloni said.
“This disproportionally disadvantages Māori, Pacific peoples, sole parents and rural communities,” she said.
Pūtea will go to lessons and financial assistance for the licensing process; current costs to attain a driver’s license total about $330 ($93.90 for a learner’s, $134.80 for a restricted license and $109.50 for the final test).
“The additional support will address critical equity issues that can be caused by not having a driver's licence," Sepuloni said.
Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni and Transport Minister Michael Wood unveiled a driver's licence subsidy programme for 64,000 people at a pre-budget speech this morning / NZME
“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,” Wood said.
Wood says improving access to licensing will increase driver safety, reduce debts from fines and lower the risk of people getting a criminal record for driving-related offences.
“It will increase the options available for police referrals and help offer more driver training support,” Wood said.
"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 licensed is an important part of this,” hed said.