License critical for rural youth

Opinion by  Jessica Paton
One issue that is of huge social importance to the people of Tuakau is that a number of youth are not getting their driver licence.
We should be encouraging youth to get their licences as soon as possible, especially in rural areas.
There are very limited transport options available in the area. Individual mobility is vital for the rest of their lives.
Previously there has been a big push to get train services to Tuakau.
This has yet to happen and buses are scarce, therefore youth need to get their driver’s licence, so that they can transport themselves.
It’s key for their own transportation and also for their future in employment and travel.
However, I do also believe the cost of getting a licence is outrageous and for the majority of our youth, this is the driving factor behind not getting their licence.
It costs $93.90 to sit a learner licence, $134.80 to sit the restricted licence and $109.50 to sit a full licence, and this is only providing they pass the first time.
This cost is unreasonable for our youth and it’s dampening their desire to get a driver’s licence.
 Why should they have to pay so much for something that is a necessary part of their future?
 This issue was highlighted by Jacinda Arden as she recently announced she’d “like to make driver education in schools compulsory.”
This is ridiculous. By incorporating it into education, kids are going to grow to hate getting their licences even more and new issues will arise as not all children will have a car.
It can be argued that this should be part of education, however I think schools have enough to teach and be concerned about without having to teach driving on top of that.
In my opinion, it would be better if we were to come together as a community and support our youth through new programmes and initiatives that fuel their desire to get their licence.
I hope that instead of making it compulsory education, the government will allocate more funds towards supporting youth in this issue and strive to lower the cost of obtaining a driver’s license in the future.
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