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Longer wait times for practical tests following Covid-19 lockdown

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is advising that wait times to book practical driving tests are longer than usual as testing officers work to clear the backlog from tests unable to be carried out during the seven-week period of COVID-19 Alert Levels 3 and 4.

Social distancing requirements prevented driver testing from being carried out during lockdown, and demand has been high since the resumption of testing on May 14. 

“As a result, waiting times are longer than usual in some regions to book both restricted and full practical driving tests. Currently, wait times are longest in Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Central North Island. 

“We understand the importance of gaining a full driving licence for people’s everyday lives, especially for gaining employment. We’re working closely with Vehicle Testing New Zealand, which manages the practical driving test process, to ensure that testing officers are spread across the right locations, particularly in Auckland where demand is highest,” says Kane Patena, Waka Kotahi General Manager Regulatory Services. 

While waiting for a practical driving test, learner and restricted drivers should continue practising their driving to increase their chance of passing first time. 

People are encouraged to book tests online at https://online.nzta.govt.nz/licence-test/(external link), particularly while there remains significant demand at driver licensing agent sites. Learner drivers can also check online test availability in areas outside their normal location. 

Visit www.drive.govt.nz(external link) or download the Drive Go app for more practice tips. 

Current wait times for practical driving tests (Class 1 – car licence)

Wait times have always varied across regions and are constantly changing. In most regions, current wait times are under 20 days. The average wait time is impacted by several factors including how many people can safely journey through the test route, how many testing officers are available in each region and the length of time each test takes. 

The national average wait times are currently 16 days for restricted driving tests and 13 days and for full driving tests. 

By region, current wait times are: 

  Restricted           Full
Northland            12 days  11 days
Auckland            46 days    43 days
Waikato              10 days 7 days
Bay of Plenty   21 days 19 days
Central               13 days  12 days
Wellington           9 days 10 days
Christchurch         7 days  8 days
Southland          15 days 11 days

  
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