Driver licensing services return to Upper Hutt

Published on 14 October 2022

Mayor Guppy and Hon. Chris Hipkins with members of The AA and VTNZ

Upper Hutt motorists can once again sit their drivers test and renew their license and registration in the city thanks to Upper Hutt City Council pushing for return of these services, resulting in a collaboration between Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, The AA, and Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ).

It’s been several years since these services were permanently based in Upper Hutt and it’s had a big impact on the community.

While the AA Mobile Unit offered some driver licensing services at the Upper Hutt Library on Fridays, people wishing to sit their driver’s test had to go to Lower Hutt or even as far as the Wairarapa.

Hon. Chris Hipkins, MP for Remutaka and Upper Hutt Mayor, Wayne Guppy, have fought hard over the last two years to get these services back.

“It’s fantastic to see these services finally return to Upper Hutt” says Upper Hutt Mayor, Wayne Guppy. “ Living without them for so many years was a totally unsatisfactory situation and really impacted our young people, and some of our older people too, who couldn’t get to other regions to sit their driver’s test.”

“Many chose not to, which saw an increase in the number of people driving without a license. It took several letters and phone calls to get here but once everyone realised what the issue was, they all came together to resolve it and that has been great to see “he says.

Hon. Chris Hipkins MP for Remutaka says “I know these services are in demand within our local community. I’m really pleased people will no longer have to travel to Lower Hutt or further afield to access them. It took a lot of work behind the scenes, and we encountered a few bumps along the way, but I’m really thrilled we’ve been able to achieve such a positive result.”

Driver and vehicle licensing will be serviced out of The AA’s new, permanent location at Cannon Point Motors in Clouston Park. Driver testing will be operated out of the same location by VTNZ (booked first with Waka Kotahi),

NZ Transport Agency’s Senior Manager Vehicle and Driver Licensing, Sue Hardiman, said Waka Kotahi was currently looking at ways to reduce the barriers for people to make driver licensing access more equitable for everyone who wants or needs a licence.

“The re-introduction of driver testing in Upper Hutt reflects our desire to increase access to driver licensing. We’ve heard the message from a range of community groups and leaders that driver licensing is an important service and we’re very pleased to provide Upper Hutt with a local service through our VTNZ and AA partners” Sue says.

VTNZ Operations Support Manager Rachael Jobson says “online bookings are now open for Class 1 Restricted and Full practical driving tests in Upper Hutt. VTNZ will operate its practical driver testing from the new AA site enabling customers to have all their driver licensing needs met in the same convenient location.”

“We’re thrilled we can now offer this service in the Upper Hutt region as it means that people who live in and around Upper Hutt don’t have to arrange transport to take them out of the area so that they can sit their practical driving test. Initially there will be one Driver Testing Officer working from the AA office in Upper Hutt Monday – Friday 8.30 am – 4.00 pm but we will reassess that if capacity is greater than we are expecting,” says Rachael.

Sheelah Ranson, AA National Manager Government Contracts, says “we are thrilled to see this Agency open for business and Upper Hutt locals can be assured they will be met with the professional and friendly service the AA prides itself on. In addition to the raft of driver and vehicle licensing services available, customers can also access IRD personal number applications, RealMe services, join the AA and renew their AA Membership at the Agency.”

Mayor Guppy and Hon. Chris Hipkins with members of The AA and VTNZ

Photo (L to R): Craig Basher and Rachael Jobson - VTNZ, Upper Hutt Mayor - Wayne Guppy, Hon. Chris Hipkins - MP for Remutaka, and John Anderson – The AA.