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2 Street signs 8-9 Opinion 10 Wellingtonian interview
14 Dining 18-19 Arts 23-24 Sport
The driver test lotto
By EMMA BEER
If you re looking to sit your driver s
licence, you have a better chance of
passing if you go to Dargaville or
Paeroa. If you are set on staying in
Wellington, Lower Hutt is the place
Of the 2390 hopefuls who sat
tests in Lower Hutt in 2011, 79 per
cent passed. That is compared to a
71 per cent pass rate at the Mt
Victoria testing centre.
The pass rates for Dargaville and
Paeroa were 96 and 93 per cent
The Wellington figures, released
to The Wellingtonian under the
Official Information Act, revealed
pass rates well below the national
A total of 10,772 tests were sat
last year around the four driver
testing stations in Wellington -- Mt
Victoria, Lower Hutt, Kilbirnie and
Porirua. The pass rate for the
region was 75 per cent. The bottom
five testing stations in New Zea-
land had pass rates between 65 and
70 per cent. The top five had pass
rates above 90 per cent.
Within the individual Wellington
centres, the pass rates of testing
officers also varied.
NZ Transport Agency stated that
for privacy reasons it would not
name the testers, but instead sup-
plied what they called phonetic
Juliet , when testing at Porirua,
had a pass rate of 100 per cent in
Delta , testing at Lower Hutt,
This was compared to Kilo at
Kilbirnie, who allowed 58 per cent
of 26 would-be drivers to pass, and
Delta , at Kilbirnie, who allowed
64 per cent of 29 to pass.
The angency has announced that
as of this week, driver testing
would become more difficult.
Agency chief executive Geoff
Dangerfield said the new test had
been specifically designed to
improve safety by encouraging
learner drivers to clock up at least
120 hours of supervised practice
before they sat the test.
The new test will be much more
challenging, he said. A higher
standard of driving will be needed
to pass. That is the whole point,
and we make no apologies for that.
Their driving stories
By EMMA BEER
Late for an important date: Becky Arrell was upset when she automatically
failed her full licence for being six minutes late.
Passing your driver s licence
test may be as simple as who is
Two young people told us
about their recent driver test
Daniel Prowse, 20, sat and
passed his full licence test last
week at the Kilbirnie centre.
The test took about 20 minutes,
and he was not asked to per-
form a parallel park or three-
point-turn, he said.
You just had to talk to [the
instructor] and tell them what
was going on around you.
The test was most probably
too easy to pass and should be
harder, he said.
Nursing student Becky Arrell
was on the receiving end of a
much tougher driving tester
when she sat her full licence at
Kilbirnie in December.
I thought I left myself plenty
of time to get petrol and get to
the centre, but there were a lot
of roadworks around the bays,
such as at Houghton Bay, and
this held me up.
When I pulled up at the
centre I looked at my watch and
noticed I was a couple of
minutes late. I went inside and
couldn t find anyone to talk to,
Eventually I looked through
a door and saw two men
talking. I knocked on the door
and one of them came out and
test. I said I was.
He said I was six minutes
late, which was too late, and so
I had failed my test, and had
forfeited my testing fee of
She was told that when she
booked her test she was
informed there was only a five-
minute grace period.
I don t actually remember
being told that, but even so, I
thought their attitude was
I had paid for an hour of his
time [to test me] and I m told
the test takes between half an
hour and 45 minutes, so there
was plenty of time to do it.
If the person who was sup-
posed to test me had been
waiting for me, I think I would
have been within the time limit
The whole thing was stupid.
Ms Arrell said she found the
tester s inflexibility ridiculous.
I was held up by roadworks,
but he said it didn t matter.
What if there d been a car crash
in front of me, or if there had
been an incident on the road
involving a child? , she asked.
Would he still have said it
didn t matter?
She has not yet booked in to
resit her test because, as a
student, she has not been able
to save enough money to apply.
Do you have a horror story from
your driving test? Let us know.
leave a comment on our
Facebook page, Facebook.com/
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