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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Wairoa locals will be able to sit their practical driver licence test closer to home from next week (12 December 2022).

Waka Kotahi and Vehicle Testing NZ have been working together to develop a test route in town for practical tests over the last few months.

Waka Kotahi Deputy Director of Land Transport, Neil Cook, said he’s very pleased to see practical driver testing established in Wairoa.

“A driver licence opens the door to opportunities like jobs, training, and so much more,” Mr Cook said.
“We know some people face barriers in getting their licence, whether that’s because of the cost or the availability of driver testing services close by,” he said.

Mr Cook said Waka Kotahi was expanding the number of routes available for driver testing across New Zealand.

“Waka Kotahi is leading a cross-agency programme to improve access and equity for driver licensing.  One of the first solutions from the programme has been working with Vehicle Testing NZ to establish new practical driver testing routes,” Mr Cook said.

New test routes are being established in Waipukurau, Kaikohe, and Dargaville this month, as well as Wairoa.

Mr Cook said as well as individual benefits there was one important benefit for everyone.

“Having more trained and licensed drivers makes our roads safer for everyone.”

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said for many people it is life-changing to have driver licensing returned to Wairoa.

“Our community has worked so hard to have testing returned and it is great to now have a positive outcome,” Mr Little said.

“I know there are many local people who have had to travel to get their licence, or have not sat their driver licence, because of a lack of local testing. I am pleased people in our community will no longer have to travel for around two hours to sit their driving test.

“Thank you to all those partners at a local, regional and national level, for their hard work in returning driver testing to Wairoa. Particularly, thank you to Neil Cook, a former Wairoa District Council engineering manager, who understands our rural area and has been pivotal in bringing this issue back to the table.

“I would also like to thank those local providers and organisations who have supported our young people by enabling them to sit their tests out of town while we haven’t had access to a local testing system.”

VTNZ National Technical Manager, Craig Basher, said VTNZ was very pleased to work with Waka Kotahi to improve and expand driver testing services in communities around New Zealand.

“At this stage we are committed to having a Driver Testing Officer in Wairoa each fortnight, but we can reassess that if the demand is higher than expected. Bookings are now open and I recommend that those wanting to sit their practical Class 1 Restricted or Full Licence get in quick as new services tend to fill up quickly.”

Online bookings for practical driving tests are available here: link)

VTNZ Driver Testing Officer Victoria Cameron, with Deputy Mayor Denise Eaglesome-Karekare, and newly passed driver, Robbie Robertson.