Driving Programme

100 Truckers: Growing our workforce

NZ Howard League for Penal Reform today announced a new challenge; to create 100 new truck drivers to help grow the economy in a world-wide pandemic.

CEO Mike Williams says with our borders closed to so much of the migrant workforce NZ depends on now is the time to invest resources in our own people who may have been overlooked in the past.

The HL Driving Programme works with Community Corrections to help ex-prisoners and offenders obtain driving licences and from there move into work.

Mike Williams says New Zealand has labour shortages in horticulture, agriculture, infrastructure and transportation especially in the provinces.

“For the cost of keeping one person in prison for a year we can train around 100 people to Class 2 to 5 licences (that’s big trucks and really big trucks to lay people) as well as providing training in Wheels, Tracks and Rollers so they can operate road works and farm machinery, and forklifts.

“Once someone has these licences they are almost guaranteed to get well paid jobs anywhere in the country” says Mike Williams.

The NZ Howard League runs 17 driving programmes around the North Island; 14 funded by the Provincial Growth Fund and three by NZTA Waka Kotahi.

On the Straight and Narrow

Thousands of offenders and ex-prisoners are being given a second chance with our driving programme aimed at helping young people off the pathway to prison and a life of crime and into work.

NZ Howard League for Penal Reform CEO Mike Williams says the programme, which costs about the same as keeping one person in prison for one year is cost effective and leads to jobs for the participants.

“65% of Māori offenders have a driving offence as part of their initial jail sentence and about 5% of jail sentences are just for driving without a licence. Over 80% of all jobs require a driver licence.

“There are no down-sides to this programme. We create safer, legal drivers, we help keep them out of jail and we make them employable; getting them off benefits.”

A driver licence also gives people identification which is critical for getting a bank account, for signing up for a rental property, and for any other situation where ID is needed.

We currently run driving programmes from Community Corrections Centres in Kaitaia, Kaikohe, Whangarei, Waitakere, Huntly, Hamilton, Tauranga, Eastern Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Wairoa, Taranaki, Whanganui, Palmerston North, and Porirua as well as helping prisoners pass their learner licence from prison.

Our programmes are currently funded by the Provincial Growth Fund and the New Zealand Transport Authority.


Licences Achieved since 2014.

Driving instructor Amy beside one of the Howard League training cars.

Prepare prisoners to pass their learner license.

Organise driving lessons and practical tests for restricted and full licenses.

Provide a car to sit practical tests in.

Help pay for costs associated with getting a license.

Provide literacy help so that they can get to a level to pass their license.

Organise the ID needed including original birth certificate.

Share some great resources including: Drive websites, apps, quizzes and a take home work book which has 10 practice tests.

Driving Programme Research & Statistics

Research by Utting Research

Articles about our Driving Programme

Help the NZ Howard League reach its goals in reducing prisoners reoffending, reducing the prison population and helping with positive reintegration into communities, without endangering the safety of those communities.

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