29 Jan 2010

Driver's licence fees set to rise

6:02 am on 29 January 2010

The cost of getting a driver's licence is set to rise to cover what the Government says is a $20 million shortfall left by the previous Labour government.

The National Government says the shortfall in driver licensing and testing costs have been growing over the past eight years and is now losing $650,000 a month.

The Transport Agency is recommending increases in the fees for most licences and is consulting the public about the proposals.

Learner and restricted licences will rise 20% and full licences 9%.

It means the cost of getting a full licence - including the learner and restricted stages - rises from $282.30 to $330.18.

The cost of renewing a licence will drop by 3% to $43.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce says the fees have not been reviewed since 2001 and the gap between the costs incurred and the fees received has grown markedly.

The Labour Party says the move is simply an attempt to gouge more money out of motorists, and rejects the Government's claim that the increases are needed to cover a $20 million shortfall left by the previous Government.

Mike Noon of the Automobile Association says while it's clear the current fees aren't covering the cost of driving tests, he's concerned any increase may deter people who have their restricted licence from moving to a full licence.