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Effectiveness of driver licensing programmes funded by the Ministry of Social Development in 2014 and 2015 – Evaluation report

This report presents findings from our evaluation of programmes that are intended to progress clients through the Graduated Driver Licence System, which is run by the New Zealand Transport Authority. We contract external providers to take our clients through the programmes, and wanted to better understand the impact of the programmes on a range of outcomes, such as employment, income, education, welfare and time in the corrections system.


We compared a group of driver licensing programme participants who completed the programme in 2014 and 2015 with a similar group in the beneficiary population. We found that, over 18 months:

  • 30 percent of participants held a full licence compared with 17 percent of the comparison group
  • participants spent an average of 20 additional days in employment (while off benefit), relative to the comparison group
  • participants earned an average of $3,000 more from employment, relative to the comparison group
  • participants did not spend more time being independent on welfare assistance, suggesting participants continued to receive some form of income assistance while participating in the programme
  • while having a driver licence may help people access education, there was no impact on people’s education outcomes
  • there was no observed difference in the rate of offending or time spent in the Department of Corrections’ system between the two groups.

While there is a correlation between participating in a programme and these outcomes, we cannot draw a conclusive direct causal effect from this analysis. There will be other factors, including participant’s individual motivation, which could impact their outcomes.

We continue to fund driver licensing programmes for people on a benefit. This evaluation confirms that there are likely employment and income benefits for people who complete the programmes.

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