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What you need to know

New Zealand has a graduated driver licensing system (GDLS) which means drivers move from a learner to a restricted and then a full licence. Currently, full licences must be renewed every 10 years, and drivers can only hold a learner and restricted car or motorcycle driver licence for 5 years.

In 2014, learner and restricted car or motorcycle driver licences were limited to 5 years. However, in November 2019, the Government agreed to an automatic 2-year extension for drivers holding a current 5-year learner or restricted car or motorbike licence that expires between 1 December 2019 and 1 December 2021. This is while we review the licensing system to look at why many learner drivers do not get their full licence.

In 2019 Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency consulted on a number of improvements to the driver licensing system that would be made through the Land Transport (Driver Licensing Rule) 1999. Options on how to progress this work are still being considered.

Driver licences

The work to date

10
Oct 2019

Extension of 5-year limits and a review announced

In October 2019, Cabinet considered options to address the significant number of expiring learner and restricted driver licences, and that not enough people were aware that they expired after 5 years.

More information
09
Jul 2019–Aug 2019

Road to Zero strategy consultation

The Government agreed to consult on the new Road to Zero road safety strategy and initial set of actions. A systematic review of the licensing system was named as a priority action for the initial action plan.

More information
08
Jul 2019

GDLS evaluation report released

As part of the Transport Base Evidence Strategy’s 2018/19 Evaluation Programme, we commissioned Schiff Consulting to evaluate New Zealand’s GDLS.

More information and related documents
07
Mar 2019

Draft Driver Licensing Amendment Rule consultation

Waka Kotahi released the proposed rule amendments for public consultation. The proposed changes, outlined in the draft Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Amendment Rule 2019, included reducing the frequency of mandatory eyesight checks and streamlining heavy vehicle licence classes.

More information and related documents
06
Dec 2016

Amendment consultation put on hold

After considering feedback on the driver licensing system discussion paper, the Government made some changes to the proposals. Cabinet agreed to proceed with the proposed amendments to the Driver Licensing Rule, including a modified proposal for reduced vision testing that responded to the concerns raised during public consultation.

More information and related documents
05
Apr 2016–Jun 2016

Driver licensing system discussion paper consultation

With Waka Kotahi, we released a discussion paper that proposed a number of improvements to the driver licensing system. These were mostly aimed at supporting commercial sector productivity and reducing unnecessary compliance costs.

More information and related documents
04
Dec 2014

Driver Licensing Rule amended

The Driver Licensing Rule was amended to include a 5-year time limit on new learner, and restricted car or motorcycle driver licences, and stronger identity evidence requirements for licence applicants.

More information
03
Sep 2014

Driver licensing system review began

Working with Waka Kotahi, we reviewed the driver licensing system as part of our Safer Journeys road safety strategy.

More information
02
Apr 2014

Time limit amendments consultation

Waka Kotahi released the draft amendment to the Driver Licensing Rule for public consultation. The proposed changes included amending how long learner and restricted licence holders could hold their licences for.

More information
01
Jan 2013

Changes to licence time limits announced

The Government announced its plan to change learner and restricted car or motorcycle driver licence time limits to encourage drivers to move through the GDLS.

More information