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18/03/15 – Should there be tougher restrictions on foreign drivers in New Zealand?

At the present time, foreigners visiting New Zealand on holiday, for example, are eligible to drive in New Zealand if they hold a valid overseas driver licence and, if their licence is not in English, an approved translation or international driving permit.

Following a number of recent motor vehicle accidents, foreign drivers have come under the media spotlight and there has been considerable public debate about whether or not they should be able to drive on our roads and on what basis.

In order to gauge public opinion and support for the introduction of these regulations, we decided to conduct a poll with a nationally representative sample of adult New Zealanders in March 2015. The following question was asked: "Foreign visitors, driving in New Zealand on holiday, have come under the media spotlight lately because of the number of motor vehicle accidents they have been involved in. Which of these do you agree with…?

The key results were that:

  1. The majority (60 percent) of respondents felt that foreign drivers should have to pass a driving competency test before they can drive on New Zealand roads.
  2. Over one-third felt that foreign drivers should, at a minimum, have to prove they have at least 12 months of driving experience.

View the media release.