Road to Zero youth driver training welcomed

Published: 22 December 2019

News type: Local news   

Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ) Chair and Ōtorohanga Mayor Max Baxter has welcomed the Government’s Road to Zero Strategy saying he is pleased to see a proposed increase in driver training and licencing.

MTFJ is a nationwide network of New Zealand’s Mayors, working together towards the vision of all young people under 25 being engaged in appropriate education, training, work or other positive activity in their communities.

MTFJ has long advocated for better driver licence training for secondary school students.  MTFJ alongside the Todd Foundation and Vodafone New Zealand Foundation recently collaborated on a joint submission to the Road to Zero Strategy, noting that a road safety strategy would be incomplete without a comprehensive plan around the licencing and education of its users.  This submission came on behalf of the Driving Change Network, a cross sector group spanning across philanthropy, local government, community, NGO and business, with the aim to create an equitable driver licencing system for everyone. 

“MTFJ believes that we need to start taking a ‘fence at the top of a cliff approach’ opposed to an ‘ambulance at the bottom of the hill’ approach when it comes to equipping our young people with the tools they need for the future.  Obtaining a driver licence is one of these tools,” says MTFJ chair Mayor Max Baxter.

It is estimated that 70,000 – 90,000 young people across New Zealand face significant barriers when accessing the graduated driver licencing system.  These barriers include access to driver testing and services, the costs of taking, or retaking driving tests and geographical constraints. 

Obtaining a driver licence also has many other positive benefits, including employment and enhanced social outcomes.  The Auckland Co-Design Lab Report estimates that roughly 70 per cent of entry level jobs in Auckland require an applicant to have a driver licence.

MTFJ has long advocated on the importance of the delivery on driver training in secondary schools, to ensure that our young people are fully equipped with a licence before endeavouring to further training, employment or education. 

“Road safety and driver licencing go hand-in-hand.  Every New Zealander is a stakeholder on our roads and has a vested interest in the competence and safety of everyone who shares our roads,” concluded Baxter.

MTFJ is hopeful that this strategy will expand existing community driving programmes and increase the access of curriculum resource, training and driver training in secondary schools.