Central Hawke's Bay locals will be able to sit their practical driver licence test closer to home from next Wednesday 30 November, and will have one of New Zealand’s first community driver testing officers working in their community.
The Waipukurau Community Driver Testing Officer (CDTO) is one of 10 who recently graduated from the first Waka Kotahi CDTO training course in early November.
Funded by Waka Kotahi, Community Driver Testing Officers are a brand new role, introduced to offer dedicated Class 1 practical tests to participants in community-led driver licensing programmes. In Waipukurau, this programme is provided by Connect Youth & Community Trust.
Waka Kotahi, Director Regional Relationships, Linda Stewart said she’s pleased to see practical driver testing available in Waipukurau and to welcome the new Community Driver Testing Officer.
“A driver licence opens the door to opportunities like jobs, training, and much more. We know some people face barriers accessing the driver licence system,” Ms Stewart said.
“Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is leading a cross-agency Driver Licensing Improvement Programme to develop solutions to improve access and equity,” she says.
“The new Community Driver Testing Officer in Waipukurau is part of that solution.
“Community Driver Testing Officers are from their local community. In Waipukurau, they will work for the Connect Youth & Community Trust to test driver licence programme participants for a Class 1 licence. They are a familiar friendly face which is really helpful for people sitting their driver test who might face hurdles in getting there.”
“Having more trained and licensed drivers makes our roads safer for everyone,” she said.
Central Hawke’s Bay Mayor Alex Walker said, “Local access to practical driving tests will be a gamechanger and I particularly want to thank Connect Youth and Community Trust for their leadership on this issue for more than 10 years.”
“We’re delighted that Waka Kotahi has now come alongside us to remove a huge roadblock and that we can make it easier for young and old in Central Hawke's Bay to access such a vital service," she said.
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.
“Practical driver testing in Waipukurau will begin on Wednesday 30 November, with available slots already filling up fast,” Mr Basher said.
“At this stage we are committed to having a Driver Testing Officer in Waipukurau once a fortnight, but we can reassess that if the demand is higher than expected. Bookings are 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.”
As well as Waipukurau, Waka Kotahi and VTNZ are jointly establishing practical driving test routes in Wairoa, Kaikohe, and Dargaville this year.
VTNZ will be offering practical driver testing to the general public from 30 November. Online bookings are open now here: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/online-services#driver-licensing
Practical driving tests for Connect Youth & Community Trust programme participants start from 24 November.
25 November 2022
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