VTNZ and Waka Kotahi brace for a surge in driver licencing tests under traffic light system

Vehicle Testing New Zealand and Waka Kotahi NZTA are asking for patience as they work through the backlog of driver licence testing following lockdown.
RICKY WILSON/STUFF/Stuff
Vehicle Testing New Zealand and Waka Kotahi NZTA are asking for patience as they work through the backlog of driver licence testing following lockdown.

Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency and Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ) are asking people to be patient while the expected high demand for driver licence testing is worked through following the country’s move to the Covid-19 traffic light system on Friday.

“We know how important it is for people to get a driver’s licence, and we will be working with VTNZ to clear the backlog created by the lockdown, but it will take some time to work through,” said Director of Land Transport Kane Patena.

“VTNZ and Waka Kotahi have rescheduled tests for all customers who were impacted by the lockdown, and encourage customers looking to make new bookings to think ahead.

STUFF
PM Jacinda Ardern announced that Auckland and some low-vaccinated regions will enter the new Covid-19 Protection Framework at the red setting, with the rest of the country doing so at the orange setting. (First published on November 20, 2021)

“We’re working on solutions with VTNZ to help address delays and ease some of the pressure on the system. VTNZ will be providing additional testing locations and driver testing officers as a result.”

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VTNZ Country Manager Greg O’Connor said that the organisation was prepared to receive bookings from fully vaccinated customers, but expected significant pent-up demand due to Auckland’s four-month lockdown.

VTNZ previously warned of a surge in demand for its vehicle testing services after Warrant of Fitness extensions expired this week.
Ricky Wilson/Stuff
VTNZ previously warned of a surge in demand for its vehicle testing services after Warrant of Fitness extensions expired this week.

“We had to postpone approximately 22,000 driver licence tests in Auckland, so it’s not hard to imagine the level of demand that’s out there as we move to the new traffic light system,” he said.

“Our message to customers is make sure you’ve got your vaccine pass ready and ensure you book early. It’s going to be a very busy summer.”

Because driver testing is a close contact service, and to comply with the new traffic light system guidelines, VTNZ says all test applicants must be fully vaccinated and show a valid New Zealand Covid-19 vaccination pass to sit a test. If test applicants are joined by a support person, the support person must also show a vaccination pass.

Masks must also be worn during tests, but VTNZ says that if either the test applicant or support person has a face-mask exemption they can contact VTNZ in advance at DTexemptions@vtnz.co.nz.

“Safety is our top priority. We will be managing the significant demand for tests while still ensuring staff and customers are safe when they are out on the road,” said O’Connor.

“We’ve worked closely with Waka Kotahi following the Ministry of Health guidelines to develop the necessary health and safety procedures that will allow us to conduct tests under each of the new traffic light levels.”

O’Connor also said that VTNZ would continue to explore procedures that could allow customers who are not fully vaccinated to access the services in the future.

VTNZ had previously warned of high demand for its vehicle testing services after temporary extensions for expired Warrants of Fitness (WoFs) and Certificates of Fitness (CoFs) expired earlier this week. The extensions were brought in to allow those affected by the Covid-19 lockdowns to continue driving and using their cars legally while alert level restrictions prevented them from renewing documents.