Funding for young beneficiaries getting their driver licence will relieve stress - expert

Government funding for young beneficiaries to get their driver licence will take a lot of pressure off them, according to a road safety expert.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the Government will invest more than $5 million into a new scheme to fund the costs of getting a driver licence for young people on youth benefits.

That includes the costs of obtaining a birth certificate for identification, professional driving lessons and test fees.

The Ministry of Social Development will deliver the scheme in partnership with community providers around the country for young people receiving the Youth Payment, Young Parent Payment or those in Oranga Tamariki care.

It will provide mobility to young people and assist them during their "first step to independence," said Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

Northland Road Safety education manager Gillian Archer welcomed the news and told Newshub it will help young people, many of whom are parents, take responsibility.

"They are now very motivated, they have got another young life that they are responsible for," said Archer.

"Many of them don't want those children going down the same path that they did. So this is a huge opportunity for them to be safe, legal drivers."

She said relying on money from others can create a lot of stress for young people, so this scheme will provide some relief and make them more confident to get on with it.

"[Money from other support systems] make them reluctant to go because if they don't pass they will feel that is their family's money wasted.

"They will be able to sit their licence when they are deemed ready, confident it is not taking food off the table from home."

But Archer would also like the Government to introduce a scheme to help young people in remote areas get to workplaces or education hubs.

"The one other thing I would like to see is a system for them to travel to those particular areas where they will have an opportunity to practise."

The scheme will roll out from June 1 and is estimated to help 2500 young people get their restricted licence.


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