Officials responsible for practical driving tests says they are not surprised by plummeting pass rates.
The New Zealand Transport Authority introduced a new testing system in February, aimed at reducing road deaths and improving the standard of young and novice drivers.
Since then, the pass rate has dropped to 41%, compared with 80% for the old test.
An authority spokesperson, Andy Knackstedt, says it is a much tougher test but he expects that as soon as drivers realise they need better preparation to take the test, the pass rates will improve.
He hasn't seen any evidence that the difficulty of the new test is deterring drivers from taking it,
and a drivers' lobby, the Automobile Association, says there is no need to change the tests.
AA driver training manager Karen Dickson says the pass rate was expected to drop after the introduction of the changes.
She says the new measures are an essential element to lowering the rate of road deaths and the AA does not believe the test criteria needs to be reviewed.