Young people on youth benefits or in care will have the costs of getting a driver licence met in a new scheme announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni and Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter today.
“The numbers tell us some 2500 young people are expected to get their restricted licence through the scheme, helping them move on into jobs,” says Jacinda Ardern.
“A driver licence is more than just a licence to drive. It’s a vital tool and opens doors to education and jobs.
“The Coalition Government knows some young people don’t have a car to learn in, identification documents or the support of family and friends to get their driver licence.
“This scheme fixes that.
“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,” Jacinda Ardern said.
Carmel Sepuloni says the scheme will provide mobility to young people.
“For many young people, getting their driver licence is their first step to independence and their development as responsible adults. It means they can get to work or training and gives them confidence and freedom.”
Julie Anne Genter says earning a driver licence helps to instil safe driving habits and can reduce harm on our roads.
“Over the last five years, young drivers who have never held a driver licence were involved in 165 fatal or serious injury crashes.
“Helping this group of drivers through the restricted driver licensing process will make the roads safer for everyone and reduce the likelihood of crashes,” Julie Anne Genter said.
The scheme will begin on 1 June, with a $5 million investment from the NZTA Community Road Safety Fund and $250,000 from MSD.
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.
It covers costs such as obtaining a birth certificate for identification, professional driving lessons and test fees.
The Prime Minister officially launched the scheme in Porirua, Wellington today.