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Only a third of young people (aged 15-24) now have a driver licence compared with nearly half in 1989. Although the number of licence holders in the 20-24 age group has grown, this could decline as young people in the 15-19 age group without a licence become older and move into that age group.

Older New Zealanders are now also more likely to have a driver licence. 73% of those aged 75+ have a driver licence.

It should be noted that the minimum age for obtaining a learner’s licence rose from 15 to 16 on 1 August 2011.


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Core dashboard information


People aged 15 years and over, in age groups, with a full driver's licence (by percentage)

Nature of data

Quantitative, survey-based
Primary source

New Zealand Household Travel Survey (Ministry of Transport)

Custodian of data Ministry of Transport
URL https://www.transport.govt.nz/research/travelsurvey
Frequency 1989/90 ; 1997/98. From 2003, updated annually with four year moving average. Periods run from July to June so 2003-2007 means July 2003 - June 2007.
Disaggregation National
Quality of the data Survey based. The survey is designed to capture household travel only and excludes most commercial and freight travel, so will underestimate total personal vehicle travel. Response rate (households with full responses from all members): 1989/90=75%; 1997/98=75%; 2003-2014: 65%-70%.
Next Update To be determined