If you're sitting your driver's licence test in the Bay of Plenty, it would pay to do so in Rotorua.

New data obtained from the NZ Transport Agency reveals test pass rates around New Zealand.

The figures covered all Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ) stations for the period January 2015 to September 2018.

The average pass rate across the country was 63 per cent. But the three VTNZ stations in the Bay of Plenty all exceeded that.


At Mount Maunganui and Whakatāne testing stations, the average pass rate was 66 per cent, while in Rotorua it was 71 per cent.


Rotorua driving instructor John Cross, who owns TripleA Auto Drive said some of the reasons for different pass rates could be the range of test routes but the biggest reason he thought people failed was lack of preparation.

Cross said while Rotorua had less traffic, the test was a little tricky.

"That's because of the speed changes on the roads. On Te Ngae Rd, for example, there are five speed changes. Plus down here we have a lot of tourists who don't know the city."

He said Tauranga could be difficult because of railway crossings.

Cross said most people who sought driving lessons were people taking one or two lessons before their test, or overseas drivers looking to get a New Zealand licence.

VTNZ general manager of operations Gavin McNaught said variations in pass rates could be attributed to differences in traffic flow.

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


"The increase in traffic interactions inadvertently increases the likelihood of errors."

Another thing that may affect the average is small sample sizes. If the pool was too small a pass rate was not included which McNaught said could affect the averages of smaller sites.

The data breaks down further in 2018 and shows the best month to sit a restricted or full test in the Bay of Plenty was January when pass rates were 80.6 per cent for full tests and 67 per cent for restricted tests.

The best month for a learner test was March when the average pass rate was 74.3 per cent.

Bay of Plenty Driving School owner Jeroen Van der beek said the morning, after peak hour, was the nicest time to do a test as there was less traffic on the roads.

"If you are in heavy traffic there's more opportunity to get it wrong," he said.

Van der beek suggested some of the reasons people failed a test were poor use of mirrors and not checking blind spots, not stopping at a stop sign or indicating correctly and speed.

"Speed is a big one, particularly around roadworks. People don't realise the speed limit changes at the sign. You don't start speeding up earlier."

McNaught said all driving tests were carried out on NZTA-certified test routes and those routes were audited annually.

He said the quality and parity of testing was constantly monitored.

"If this reporting finds an individual testing officer that falls either below or above standard norms, VTNZ investigates."

AA Driving School general manager Roger Venn said the biggest reason for failed tests was lack of preparation.

"The key reason is simply they have not had enough practice or professional tuition and you need both.

"We recommend a minimum of 20 hours professional tuition and that needs to be supplemented with as much supervised practice as you can get."

VTNZ Tauranga Central and VTNZ Greerton don't offer practical driver licence tests. Other test providers in the Bay of Plenty, not included in the data, are AA in Katikati, Rotorua, Tauranga, Te Puke and Whakatāne and through Kawerau District Council.