Government to fund free driver's license tests for those on youth benefits

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald ,
Section
Politics,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 10 April 2019, 2:51PM
PM Jacinda Ardern announced that the programme was for young people on youth benefits or in care. (Photo / Michael Craig)
PM Jacinda Ardern announced that the programme was for young people on youth benefits or in care. (Photo / Michael Craig)

The Government will spend more than $5 million on a scheme to get more young people a driver's licence, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.

The programme, designed for young people on youth benefits or in care, will cover the costs of obtaining a birth certificate for identification, professional driving lessons and test fees.

In a statement this morning, Ardern said a major barrier to some young people getting their licence was having access to a car to learn in.

Some, she said, also struggled with identification documents, or the support of family and friends to get their driver's licence.

Ardern said the Government's scheme aims to fix this.

"It's a small investment that can go a long way in supporting our young people with the tools they need to find a job."

She said 2500 young people were expected to get their restricted licence through the scheme and this would help them on into jobs.

The scheme will begin on June 1, with a $5-million investment from the New Zealand Transport Authority's Community Road Safety Fund.

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) will contribute $250,000.

MSD's Youth Service will deliver the scheme in partnership with community providers around the country for young people receiving the Youth Payment, Young Parent Payment or in Oranga Tamariki care.

Before the 2017 election, as part of its School Leavers Toolkit policy, Labour promised all senior high-school students free driving lessons and driver's licence tests.

According to the policy: "Every student will be offered five hours of professional driving lessons, a defensive driving course, and free testing for their learners' and restricted licence before they leave school."

Offering free driver training to all secondary students was also in the Labour-NZ First coalition agreement, as well as the speech from the throne.

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said ministers were already working on getting this scheme underway too.

She said today's announcement is on top of what was promised in the speech from the throne.

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