There has been another step forward in the quest to make it easier for young Hawke's Bay people to gain a driver's licence.

The New Zealand Transport Agency has approved the allocation of $120,000 per year to help fund community programmes to assist people through all stages of obtaining a driver's licence. Together with support from the Hawke's Bay Intersectoral Group, including leaders from local councils, the health board, iwi, EIT, Eastern Police and government agencies, the funding will be targeted at sectors of the community where there are barriers to gaining a driver's licence. Research shows learner drivers in Central Hawke's Bay and Wairoa have to travel significant distances to sit their driver tests and many young drivers don't progress beyond learner or restricted licences.

Hawke's Bay Regional Transport Committee chairman Alan Dick said the next steps were to advertise the availability of the funding and encourage expressions of interest from community providers of driver licensing training. A governance group would be set up to assess the applications, allocate funding and monitor the results of the providers.

Tukituki National MP Craig Foss said: "As both the Associate Transport Minister and local MP, I welcome the NZ Transport Agency's $120,000 investment in community licence programmes for the Bay."