Frustrated Auckland motorists say they are waiting up to a year to sit restricted and full licence tests, but the NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA) has disputed the delays.
An Auckland mum, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Herald when she and her son, who is ready to sit his restricted licence, tried to book, the only appointments were for October next year.
“We initially started with a local one, Glen Innes, and then, Mount Wellington, nothing, but then we just tried all over Auckland and there weren’t any appointments over the entirety of Auckland or in the Waikato or Northland,” the mum said.
“People are having to go out of town to get appointments, but we can’t even do that at the moment, there literally is nothing anywhere
“It seems worse than it was at the end of Covid. After Covid, my daughter was trying to book and that was like three months out.”
Another frustrated parent contacted the Herald and complained of the same “absurd delays”.
He had the same problems booking a test for his son, with the wait times showing a year-long delay.
“An Auckland-based acquaintance has booked a test in Kerikeri for about next October as the quickest option,” he said.
The mum has been checking back on the website “four times a day”, she said, but has yet to find an appointment.
NZTA said tests can only be booked eight to 10 weeks in advance. However, a spokesperson said the wait times have rapidly increased since October 1 when the fee to resit examinations was scrapped.
After the Herald sent a list of questions to NZTA, a message has appeared on the booking website explaining that although the wait list looks like it is a year-long, “slots do open up frequently and become available to be booked when applicants cancel tests they have booked”.
“We encourage people to keep an eye on the test booking webpage and check back regularly,” the statement read.
The initial cost to book a learner test rose slightly, from $93.90 to $96.10, on October 1 and the restricted assessment went up from $134.80 to $167.50. The price to sit a full-licence test is now cheaper, dropping from $109.50 to $98.90.
The biggest savings come from the new cost for resitting tests being a one-off fee, which is $45.70 for learners, $59.50 for full and $86.60 for a restricted licence.
Rachel Maher is an Auckland-based reporter who covers breaking news. She has worked for the Herald since 2022.