Waikato MP, Tim van de Molen and Memorie Brooky, Manager of the Matamata Public Relations Association and Business Association made an oral submission to the Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee on the 25th of June requesting the full driver's license testing be reinstated in Matamata as soon as possible.
The two locals spoke on behalf of the community after receiving a strong indication that students, businesses and employers desired testing services be available in town. Tim developed a petition last year asking people to support having full driver's license testing reinstated in Matamata; and submitted those findings to the Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee last Thursday.
“It was very well supported by the community, people on Facebook were enthusiastic and we also had many local businesses who were keen to support it too,” Tim said to the committee.
One of the main reasons for wanting the testing services to be reinstated was because most jobs in Matamata would require a driver’s license. Tim said, “This particular topic I had raised with employers and there was really strong feedback that a driver’s license was probably the most critical qualification for a number of those employers.”
Memorie emulated this saying the lack of testing within Matamata meant locals had to travel long distances, often requiring time off work or requesting their parents take time off work, to take the test in unfamiliar towns. She said a variety of people, from students to the elderly required accessible driver’s license testing in Matamata.
“We’ve got so many trades and services and trucking firms and I struggle to think of many employers in our town that wouldn’t need someone that had a license,” said Memorie.
Tim outlined in his submission that NZTA removed the license testing within Matamata because it did not meet the criteria necessary, which required traffic lights and double-lane roads. But he also pointed out that there was a total of two sets of traffic lights in the Waikato electorate and people partaking in full driver's license testing in cities were not required to drive on rural and unmarked roads. After more research, Tim discovered that Matamata was never actually formally assessed by NZTA to determine whether it met the criteria to offer testing services. He said this was a ‘glaring inconsistency’ in the selection process.
Morrinsville currently has the only full driver's license testing in the Waikato electorate. Tim ensured the Committee there were very little differences between the two towns, emphasizing Matamata had as much reason as Morrinsville to provide the service.
The Select Committee has requested NZTA appear before the committee to address the petition.