Smart driver licence not on the cards for NZ

No plans for introducing Australian smart card driver licence

A smart card driver licence, featuring facial recognition and an embedded chip holding driver information, is expected to be a national model in Australia, but New Zealand is not part of the project.

The New Queensland Driver Licence (NQDL) project began the implementation phase last year and roll out will start at the end of 2009. Queensland Transport has been developing the licence for the last three years.

Austroads, the association of Australian and New Zealand road transport and traffic authorities, is expected to promote the same standards used by the NQDL to ensure interoperability between states.

But, while Land Transport New Zealand is aware of the Queensland smart card initiative — by virtue of its membership in the Registration and Licensing workgroup within Austroads — the smart card project has not involved any input from New Zealand, says LTNZ spokesman Andy Knackstedt. Nor is LTNZ aware of any plans to introduce a “smart card” driver licence for use in New Zealand, he says.

The licence aims to reduce fraud, simplify card issuing and cut red tape, according to Queensland Transport. Government agencies including Australia Post, car hire companies and registered clubs will have access to user data imbedded in the licence and stored in government databases for validation of identity, address, and whether the person is allowed to drive.

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