A South Auckland marae is calling for changes to how New Zealand drivers licenses are issued.
Te Puea Marae says it’s sick of seeing Māori enter the criminal justice system over unpaid fines.
Last year nearly 75,000 infringement notices were issued to drivers who were driving outside the terms of their learner or restricted licenses; racking up more than $7 million in fines.
Hurimoana Dennis runs an education programme at the marae for Māori seeking licenses.
“When I was in the police, that was a significant contributor to our people going into the criminal justice system for low level driver licence offences,” he said.
“They just can’t afford to pay it, so that turns into a warrant. The fines get bigger…you can end up getting disqualified and before you know it you’re recycling into the system for what?”
He’s wanting a marae or Whānau Ora organisations to become a one-stop-shop for would-be drivers as they’ve got close connections to some who may slide towards a life of fines.
The AA and VTNZ currently deliver licensing tests on behalf of Waka Kotahi (NZTA) who say it’s arrangements aren’t flexible.
However, Waka Kotahi said it’s looking to further support marae based and other community licensing programmes.