Driving Age To Become 16


Cabinet has approved a rise in the driving age from 15 to 16 years.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce: ” We have one of the lowest driving ages in the OCED. By raising this and ensuring our driver testing requires more practice before solo driving, we can ensure our young people have a safer start entering the road system, one that supports a lifetime of safe driving.”

Mr Joyce says legislation to support changes in the package could be in place by the end of the year.

Other actions in the package are:

  • make the restricted licence test more difficult to encourage 120 hours of supervised driving practice
  • raise public awareness of young driver crash risk
  • improve the road safety education available to young people and increase access to it
  • investigate vehicle power restrictions for young drivers allow approved courses (Defensive Driving and Street Talk) to be undertaken in the learner licence phase
  • Investigate whether tougher penalties should be introduced for breaches of restricted licences

A second package of initiatives, focused on the impact of alcohol on our roads, will be discussed by Cabinet shortly. This will include an action to reduce the youth blood alcohol limit to zero.

United Future leader Peter Dunne says the Government has wasted a lot of considering his own legislation is sitting in select committee ready to go.“The Government’s proposals simply duplicate my own Bill to lift the minimum driving age to 16 years. It would also have meant the age for obtaining a full licence would be pushed out to 18.5 years,” said Mr Dunne.

Federated Farmers is disappointed Cabinet has agreed to lift the driving age to 16 as it will not have any impact on lowering the road toll. “The decision ignores expert opinion, including from the Automobile Association, that the way we learn to drive, particularly getting supervised experience is the key to improving road safety for our younger New Zealanders,” says Lachlan McKenzie, Federated Farmers acting transport spokesperson.




  1. Matt L says:

    A good move and Steven Joyce has probably done a good thing here, especially seeing as it is against the wishes of one of their biggest backers. I’m sure some would argue it isn’t enough.

  2. rtc says:

    This is good news and I am glad they stuck to their guns on it.

  3. max says:

    Well, if I’m “some”, here I am. And Federated Farmers should stop passing off lobbying as facts.

  4. Jeremy Harris says:

    LOL at fed farms… The AA has no reason it would want to see an extra of year of drivers on the road right..?

  5. parsley72 says:

    Our 14 year old girl is understandably annoyed about this!

  6. ingolfson says:

    I couldn’t get my license till I was 18, so I am afraid I won’t commiserate with her.

  7. Neil says:

    About time! The power restrictions surely are the next logical thing… a 16 year old just shouldn’t be able to drive a v8 or whatever….

  8. Matt says:

    Parsley72 - she should be fine, it’s not coming in till the middle of next year.

    I also agree with the power restrictions, it makes a lot of sense. Lastly in the herald has a story on this and it states the Steven Joyce has not ruled out raising it further.

  9. mel says:

    This is just annoying. I guess it’s a good thing, but I need to know when EXACTLY the driving age will be raised, as I am turning 15 in June next year. I need my licence because my parents are getting sick of driving me around and won’t let me catch the train or bus over long distances by myself (yes they’re very protective).

  10. Scott says:

    Sorry Mel, I don’t think the date has been announced.
    A quote from April 15th 2010:

    “Transport Minister Steven Joyce said this morning that the policies could come into force by the end of the year after going through parliamentary processes.”.

    It seems the process has been slower than expected.


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