Queenstown's cosmopolitan mix is thought to be behind the
high failure rate for people sitting the tougher restricted
driving test, with candidates in the resort achieving only
half the national average pass rate.
Queenstown's rate at November 23 was 23%, compared with
Alexandra's 58% and the national average of 46%, according to
figures supplied by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).
The agency said the new restricted test, introduced in
February, required a higher standard of driving to pass.
The number of people who had taken the test in Queenstown to
November 23 was 176 and in Alexandra 159. Testing in
Queenstown started two weeks after Alexandra, NZTA principal
adviser driver training and testing Jim Furneaux said.
Mr Furneaux said it was important to remember statistics
could change week by week.
However, the resort's high proportion of people from other
countries could be a factor in the failure rate, he said.
"There seems to be a higher percentage of overseas candidates
in the Queenstown area compared to many other areas of the
"Many of these drivers struggle with parallel parking, often
hitting or mounting the kerb, and their test failures would
appear to indicate that they have insufficient driving
experience in New Zealand."
The low pass rate in Queenstown was not a concern, Mr
Furneaux said, as someone could fail in Queenstown but sit
the test again in Alexandra if there were no testing spaces
available in the resort.
"You can make all sorts of assumptions and you can be
entirely wrong," Mr Furneaux said when asked if Queenstown
licensing officers were stricter.
When asked if the Queenstown failure rate was higher than the
national average under the old test, he said the two tests
were not comparable.
He emphasised the need for preparation and warned: "If you
are coming from overseas you cannot rely on your overseas
The top reasons for people failing their restricted licence in
Queenstown since February. -
• Not signalling, especially at roundabouts and when parallel
• Excessive speed.
• Failing to keep left.
• Exceeding 30kmh limit through road works.