15 Jul 2016

Wave of drivers licences revoked after investigation

7:19 am on 15 July 2016

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has confirmed 49 people have had their drivers licences revoked after a police investigation of alleged fraud at an AA office in Auckland in March.

A further group of licences are still being investigated and are also likely to be revoked.

NZTA could not say the exact numbers involved in the second batch, but estimated it to be a similar number to the first group of cancelled licences. Both car and truck drivers are involved.

The agency said the cancellations had been made following the police inquiry in Auckland earlier this year and court action was pending.

The fraud allegations triggered an investigation of the New Zealand Transport Agency by auditors KPMG.

It found a lack of robust controls of the licensing system, especially when drivers licences obtained overseas were checked in this country.

The main truck drivers' lobby group said the Transport Agency must deal effectively with these complaints.

Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley said some overseas licences could have been simply converted to a New Zealand licence, which was unacceptable.

The problem could extend beyond the transport system, Mr Shirley said.

"Drivers licences are often used for identification for a wide range of purposes so if they are fraudulent then you could have fraudulent identification."

Drivers licences are often used as ID to set up bank accounts, but the Bankers Association has not at this stage commented on this concern.

In statements made to KPMG, the Transport Agency said its systems were already being improved by the time the review got underway.

It said more than 3 million people have drivers licences and so the system has to be accessible, affordable and trusted.