This afternoon’s rain clouds could not put locals off joining their MP Tim van de Molen, supporting the launch of his petition to the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to reinstate a complete range of driver licencing services in Matamata.
NZTA no longer offers a complete range of driver licencing services in Matamata. Replaced with a service desk inside the Waterson’s Superstore; the only access to licence services is theory learner licence testing, and licence administration.
“Since 2016, the closest available car and motorcycle practical testing area has been Morrinsville, which is 30 to 50 minutes’ drive away depending where you live,” said van de Molen. “Young people in the Matamata district are having to wait for months to sit their restricted or full licence, due to insufficient capacity in other towns. They then sit their test in an unfamiliar setting – how is that fair?”
It is estimated that over 200 young people in Matamata reach the age of licence eligibility each year, and are impacted by this lack of service. Some are forced to explore options further away in Tokoroa or Thames; especially those seeking heavy vehicle licences which are not offered in Morrinsville.
As a young person growing up in Matamata, Tim believes that getting his driver licence was the pinnacle to gaining his independence.
“Matamata is a rural hub, a service town to many surrounding areas, which is thriving and growing,” he said. “I cannot believe that the most basic need to be able to obtain a full driver licence cannot be fulfilled. This is unacceptable.”
The petition that NZTA reinstate a complete range of driver licencing services in Matamata as soon as possible will run for six weeks, and paper copies are being hosted across the district, with schools, local business and clubs all keen to obtain signatures in support.
The petition is also available to sign online www.TimvandeMolen.National.org.nz