Improvements to New Zealand’s vehicle licensing systems will keep our roads and vehicles safe, while saving motorists and businesses time and money.

Changes already confirmed affect the Warrant of Fitness and Certificate of Fitness systems.

Improvements still under consideration would affect the following:

Read the Vehicle Licensing Reform Terms of Reference (PDF, 91KB)

Read Minister Brownlee's media release on signing rule changes for the Warrant of Fitness and Certificate of Fitness systems(external link)

Read the questions and answers about Vehicle Licensing Reform

Background information on Vehicle Licensing Reform

View documents and related links

Warrant of fitness

Changes made to the warrant of fitness system mean:

  • after initial inspection, no further inspection until vehicles are three years old
  • annual inspections for vehicles three years and older, first registered on or after 1 January 2000
  • six-monthly inspections for vehicles first registered before 1 January 2000
  • extra education and communication measures will be developed to encourage New Zealanders to keep their vehicles roadworthy
  • extra Police enforcement activities
  • Ministry of Transport and the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) monitoring to assess any effects on safety the changes may have (additional measures will be considered, if needed)

These changes took effect on 1 January 2014 for vehicles first registered anywhere between 2004 and 2008, and 1 July 2014 for vehicles first registered anywhere on or after 1 January 2000.

Also from 1 July 2014 new vehicles receive an initial inspection, another one when they’re three years old, then annual inspections for the remainder of their lifetime.

Motorists don’t have to do anything different in relation to getting their warrant of fitness inspection. When vehicles are inspected, the inspection agent will assign the appropriate date for its subsequent inspection.

More information is available here

Certificate of fitness

The certificate of fitness package is:

  • keeping the current default six-monthly inspection frequency but allowing NZTA to vary inspection frequency from three to 12 months depending on a transport operator’s safety performance
  • allowing vehicle owners and operators to have greater choice about where and from whom they get their vehicles inspected. This will include the flexibility to bundle service and inspection together, and possible accreditation for operators to manage the safety of their vehicles.

The introduction of a variable frequency for inspections took effect from 1 July 2014, and changes to allow a greater range of providers for certificate of fitness inspections took effect on 1 December 2014.

More information is available here(external link)

Annual Vehicle licensing

The Associate Minister of Transport will report back to Cabinet by 30 September 2013 with a detailed improvement package to:

  • make it easier for motorists to pay on time by improving communication
  • encourage on-time payment through the use of payment incentives such as late payment penalties
  • use more targeted sanctions that better distinguish between those who are late to pay and those who are evading payment.

More information is available here

Read the one page overview of annual vehicle licensing (PDF, 378kb)

Transport services licensing

The transport services licensing system will be left in place but improvements can be made. The NZTA will report back to the Associate Minister of Transport by 30 September 2013 on:

  • the implications of removing farmers and trades people who only use one goods vehicle of less than 15,000 gross vehicle mass, from having a transport services license
  • ways to improve the process for entry to transport services licensing
  • opportunities to better manage and exit unsafe and poor performing operators from transport services licensing
  • whether the fees and charges for the regulatory activities should change to reflect the activities carried out for different sectors.

More information is available here

Read the one page overview of transport services licensing (PDF, 280kb)

Indicative timetable

SystemActionIndicative date
Warrant of fitness (WoF) Consultation on amendment to Rule April/May 2013
  WoF changes implemented 1 January 2014/ 1 July 2014 
Certificate of Fitness (CoF) Consultation on amendment to Rule April/May 2013
  CoF changes implemented 1 July 2014/ 1 December 2014
Annual Vehicle Licensing Report back to government on specific changes to Annual Vehicle Licensing 30 September 2013
Transport Services Licensing Conversation with industry about proposed changes Before 30 September 2012
  Report back to government on changes to Transport Services Licensing 30 September 2013

Documents and related links