Land Transport Common Questions

The holder of a Class 1 learner or restricted driver licence may drive any rigid motor vehicle with a GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) of not more than 6,000kg provided the actual on road weight does not exceed 4,500kg. The other requirements for a Learner or Restricted licence regarding carrying of passengers and restricted hours also apply. The holder of a full Class 1 driver licence may drive any rigid vehicle with a GVM of not more than 6,000kg. If towing any other vehicle the aggregate (total) of the GVM’s of both vehicles must not exceed 6,000kg. If it does a full Class 2 licence is required. For further information you may obtain a copy of NZ Transport Agency Factsheet No 11 from any of their offices or agents. It is also available free of charge from their website and scroll down to No 11.
If the vehicle is operating with a CoF (Certificate of Fitness) the numerals that follow the letters GVM on the Certificate of Loading is the GVM. If the vehicle is operating with a WoF (Warrant of Fitness) it will appear in the Owners Handbook and may be shown as Maximum Laden Weight.
The certificate of loading is a 2 page document the same size as the vehicle annual licensing label and issued for vehicles operating with a CoF. It should be displayed at the windscreen in the same manner as the annual licensing label. The contents include the wheelbase of the vehicle, axle ratings, GVM rating, GCM (Gross Combination Mass),number of seatbelts etc.
Any vehicle with a manufacturer’s safe laden weight (GVM) of more than 3,500ks is classified as a heavy vehicle and requires a CoF.
The maximum speed limit for a vehicle operating with a WoF is 100kmh. The maximum speed limit for a vehicle operating with a CoF is 90kmh. The maximum speed limit when towing with a rigid coupling is 90kmh. The maximum speed limit when towing with a flexible coupling is 20kmh.
FTW means the minimum weight required on the front axle when the vehicle is on a roller brake testing machine. RTW means the minimum weight required on the rear axle when the vehicle is on a roller brake testing machine. If the vehicle has 2 rear axles it will be shown RTW1 and RTW2. In some cases these weights may differ because of the suspension setup where the weight may be distributed between the 2 axles on a 60% & 40% ratio or 70% and 30% ratio.
An LT400 is a NZ Transport Agency certificate which is issued by an NZ Transport Agency approved Heavy Vehicle Certifying Engineer certifying that certain aspects of the vehicle that have been altered or added are in compliance with the relevant sections of Land Transport Rules. This may cover seats and seatbelts and mountings; chassis alterations or attachments; towbars; suspensions etc. The NZMCA Technical Advisor – NZTA can supply the contact details of current approved engineers. If the vehicle is a light vehicle (under 3,500kg GVM) these certifications are done by the Low Volume Technical Association. Contact details of their current inspectors may be obtained from their office by phoning 04 238 4343.
Land Transport Rule: Seatbelts and Seatbelt Anchorages 2002 requires that any vehicle first registered as a motorhome on or after 1st October 2003 or modified on or after 1st October 2003 must be fitted with at least as many seatbelts as there are sleeping berths. There must also be a sign advising that when the vehicle is mobile it is compulsory to wear seatbelts. The placement of a screw to prevent a couch sliding out to use as a sleeping berth is not an acceptable as way of reducing the number of sleeping berths. Vehicles first registered as a motorhome before 1st October 2003 must be fitted with the seatbelts that were appropriate for the class of vehicle when the vehicle was first registered.
Children must be restrained by the use of approved child restraints. The NZ Transport Agency has produced a series of videos to assist people to correctly install and use child restraints. These can be viewed at Children under the age of 7 years must be in a child restraint. If possible use a rear facing seat which will prevent serious or fatal harm to the neck in the event of a crash. Children 7 years of age must use a child restraint if one is available or a seatbelt if one is not available. Children of 8 years of age until their 15th birthday must be in the rear seat if one is available and use a seatbelt. However if a child is less than 148mm tall it is recommended that they use a child restraint as under that height a normal seatbelt will not safely over their shoulder. Never use a child restraint on a side facing seat as in the event of a crash this will cause a broken neck or even be fatal. Child restraint technicians are available for advice and their contacts can be found at
It is a legal requirement that vehicle registration plates must be clearly visible at all times, day or night and not obscured. If the carriage of bicycles, or any other items such as a box does not allow your registration plate to meet these requirements you will need to relocate the plate so that it is clearly visible or obtain a supplementary registration plate from the NZ Transport Agency Vehicle Registry Office in Palmerston North. This can be done by phoning Freephone 0800 108 809 and giving them the registration plate number and the reason you are requesting a supplementary plate. The new plate will be slight smaller than the original and will bear the word “supplementary”. There is a small charge for this plate. It is illegal to use any other plate as those issued by the NZ Transport Agency have been designed to be recognized by enforcement agencies cameras use for collecting toll road fees and also traffic police cameras and assisting police tracing stolen vehicles. Penalties apply for non-compliance.