Drivers in the Wellington region appear to have no problem passing their driver's licence test. Its three main centres are well over the national average.

New Zealand Transport Agency data has revealed that those living in Wellington city were the most successful in passing their full licence last year, with a 73 per cent pass rate, followed by Lower Hutt (68 per cent) and Porirua on 67 per cent.

The national pass rate average last year was 60 per cent, and is currently sitting at 61 per cent this year.

However, Porirua residents are already having more luck with the test and are beating their regional counterparts with an impressive 78 per cent pass rate, followed by Wellington city on 69 per cent and Lower Hutt, 65 per cent.


The two cities also battle it out for glory in the restricted licence test pass rate, with Porirua nudging out Wellington last year, .but the capital taking it out so far this year with 60 per cent.

Agency spokesperson Andy Knackstedt puts the variance for this year's pass rates in Wellington down to the smaller number of tests compared to last year.

Mr Knackstedt says the higher pass rates are pleasing as a new practical licence tests for car drivers was introduced in 2012 and proved a challenge initially.

"The tests are more challenging and demand a higher level of practice and preparation than the previous testing regime. For that reason it was expected that pass rates would drop initially, and that they would gradually climb as people took the message onboard that more practice and preparation was required. This is what we have seen happen, in Wellington and nationally.

"For the first full month of the new restricted licence tests [March 2012], the overall national pass rate was only 38 per cent, compared to pass rates of around 80 about for the old, less challenging restricted test. In the first full year of the new tests, the national pass rate was around 50 per cent."

However, as word spread that the new test was more challenging, drivers began putting in more practice.

"As a result the pass rates have gradually climbed, to a current national pass rate of about 59 per cent."

He says the more challenging tests are part of a wider effort to improve safety and reduce crashes.

"We are pleased that novice drivers appear to be putting in more time and preparation to sit the new tests, and pass rates are gradually increasing."

Restricted licence test - pass rate

2015 - 2016

• Lower Hutt - 51 per cent - 54 per cent
• Porirua - 61 per cent - 54 per cent
• Wellington - 56 per cent - 60 per cent

Full licence test - pass rate

2015 - 2016

• Lower Hutt - 68 per cent - 65 per cent
• Porirua - 67 per cent - 78 per cent
• Wellington - 73 per cent - 69 per cent

National pass rates

• Restricted 2015 - 60 per cent
2016 - 61 per cent

• Full 2015 - 70 per cent
2016 - 68 per cent