Rates of driver licence holding in Aotearoa New Zealand

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Note overview

This note describes the rates which various subpopulations of Aotearoa New Zealand’s population hold licences for motor cars and light motor vehicles.

Low rates of holding a driver’s licence can indicate difficulty accessing licences (for example, through lack of opportunity to practice driving). This may matter for access to work, education, healthcare, social connections and more.

However, in areas with good public transport, licences may not be required for individuals to have good mobility. In areas with low enforcement, people may be mobile despite not having a licence because they drive illegally.

This document describes some of the main patterns of licence holding found in the accompanying tables. Although the subpopulations identified as having low rates of holding a licence are not necessarily disadvantaged by this, further investigation into the reasons for and effects of their low licence rates may be warranted.

The population data are from the 2018 Census and licence holding is as of 6 March 2018.


Sin, I and Hannah Kotula. 2021. “Rates of driver licence holding in Aotearoa New Zealand". Motu Research Note 44. Motu Economic and Public Policy Research. Wellington, New Zealand.


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