11 Dec 2009

Driver training needed 'not just for young Maori'

6:22 pm on 11 December 2009

The New Zealand Institute of Driver Educators says a proposal to keep young Maori drivers safe on the road should be for all people on low incomes, not just Maori.

Clive Mathew-Wilson, who publishes the car buyers' Dog & Lemon Guide, is calling on the Government to empower Maori communities to educate and train their own people, because, he says, they are over-represented in the vehicle accident death rate.

Ministry of Social Development figures suggest that, for Maori, 21 people per 100,000 died on the roads in 2006, compared with just eight per 100,000 non-Maori.

The institute's president, Wayne Young, supports Mr Mathew-Wilson's basic idea, but says the programme should be delivered to all low-income earners to help them avoid picking up bad driving habits.

Mr Mathew-Wilson says young Maori are disadvantaged and more likely to be poor and have lower literacy. The system needs to change, he says, so that Maori can sit their driving test in te reo.

The Triple-A Driving School says however that the learner's licence theory test is already available in Maori.