If you're sitting your driver's licence, it would pay to take a trip to Blenheim, or Nelson or Hawera.

New data obtained from the NZ Transport Agency reveals you're much more likely to pass a restricted or full licence in these three towns.

The figures covered all Vehicle Testing New Zealand stations for the period January 2015 to September 2018. The average pass rate across the country was 63 per cent.

Pass rates in Auckland were lower than the national average, with the three sites you're most likely to fail at located there.


Manukau in South Auckland had the lowest pass rate at 48 per cent, followed by Westgate in West Auckland at 53 per cent, and New Lynn, also out west, at 55 per cent.

The site with the highest pass rate in Auckland was Glen Innes at 64 per cent, while the highest in the country was Blenheim at 81 per cent.

A factor for the high pass rate might be the lack of any traffic lights in Blenheim and low traffic volumes, Marlborough District Council road safety co-ordinator Robyn Blackburn said.

Blenheim also had the equal cheapest lessons nationally for the AA Motoring Driving School at $65 an hour. Auckland, in contrast, has the equal most expensive at $75 an hour.

A joint road safety programme was also established in the Marlborough area in 2013 by police, council, and national mental illness help organisation Supporting Families, which identifies youth at risk of driving without their licence.


"Police identify local young people at risk of driving without their licence, or outside the terms of their restricted, and Supporting Families register them for us," Blackburn said.

"We then help put these young people through the learner licence, particularly. We have a two-day road code thrashing, and the third day we whip them off to sit their learner licence. We have about a 97 per cent first time pass rate for that.

"A lot of these young people just don't have the support, it's too hard. Of course the cost of the test was another barrier for our young people.

"To my knowledge the way we operate, the model we use is our own. We work closely with two of our main driving instructors."

Blackburn also said the council helped fund one assessment lesson before local youths' actual restricted drivers test - to help them gauge if they will pass.

VTNZ operations general manager Gavin McNaught said part of the difference could be explained by the different types of tests - including full or restricted being sat at each site - as well as traffic around testing sites.

"In a busy metropolitan area like Manukau, test applicants will be presented with a greater number of, and more complicated, traffic interactions than if in a quieter urban area like Blenheim.

"The increase in traffic interactions inadvertently increases the likelihood of errors, which corresponds to the variances between rural and metropolitan test locations."

McNaught said VTNZ was required to "provide an accessible testing service", which meant they had to be in a range of locations, even if some of those locations were naturally easier because of traffic conditions.

Aucklander Stewart Sowman-Lund passed his restricted drivers licence three weeks ago, sitting the test in Levin - which has a pass rate of 64 per cent.

"My parents kept saying don't waste your money, just practise on holidays and sit the test here because everyone passes in Levin," he said.

"In the regions of lower North Island, you'll get one roundabout and maybe one set of red lights. If you do it in Auckland there's not only going to be a lot of traffic, you deal with extra hazards. I think it's pretty obvious it's not going to be a fair test in a place like Auckland."

The 21-year-old got his learner's licence when he was 17 and had been practising driving in Levin since, as he is without a car in Auckland.

AA Driving School general manager Roger Venn said the three lowest national licence pass rates of Manukau, Westgate, and New Lynn - all in Auckland - were probably the busiest areas for surrounding traffic and risk factors.

"You've got very busy congestion in those areas: pedestrians, trucks," Venn said.

"You're more likely to be faced with more complex driving situations, and more likely to forget the basics perhaps than you might taking your test in Palmerston North for example.

"The only logical thing is the traffic environment is more stressful and therefore leads to more mistakes."