Drivers Have More Time to Gain Full Licence

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter has announced an automatic two-year extension for Drivers holding a current five-year learner or restricted car or motorbike licence which expires in the period from 1 December 2019 to 1 December 2021.

The Government agreed to the two-year extension while the Ministry of Transport undertakes a review of the Graduated Driver Licence System. The review will look at the challenges faced by novice drivers, and the reasons why many of them choose not to progress through to gaining a full licence. Any final advice to Government will look at ways to assist and encourage learner drivers while identifying any barriers that may be hindering their progress towards holding a full licence.

The decision followed consideration by Cabinet on 21 October 2019 on options to address the significant number of expiring learner and restricted driver licences and low awareness of the five-year licence limit and expiry date.

What is the rule change?

Drivers holding a current five-year learner or restricted car or motorbike licence issued or renewed after 1 December 2014 will receive an automatic two-year extension to give them time to progress to the next level of licence. The relevant licence validity details will be extended in the Driver Licence Register, meaning NZ Police will be able to check the true expiry date of driver licences at the roadside, however an updated photo driver licence card will not be automatically provided.

The rule change also allows drivers on a five-year time limited licence who want to remain at their current licence stage to renew their licence up to 90 days prior to the expiry date. The previous rule only allowed a driver to renew their learner or restricted licence on the day of, or following its expiry.

NZTA will shortly launch a targeted campaign to advise relevant licence holders of the change to their expiry date and encourage them to get a replacement licence to reflect that new date – and to encourage them to progress through the licensing system and gain their full licence.

When does the rule change come into effect?

1 November 2019

For further information:

www.nzta.govt.nz/driver-licence/expiry-extension(external link)

Are any time-limited license holders excluded from the two-year extension?

The following time-limited licence holders are excluded from the two-year extension.

  1. learner and restricted licence holders who hold a 10-year licence
  2. learner and restricted licence holders with zero alcohol or alcohol interlock sentences
  3. learner and restricted licence holders suspended or disqualified from driving any time before 30 November 2019
  4. learner and restricted licence holders aged, or turning, 75 before 1 December 2021.