If you're planning to rent (hire) a vehicle in New Zealand, there are some important things you need to know.
You'll need a driver licence
You (and anyone else planning to drive the hire vehicle) must have a current and valid driver licence for the type of vehicle you're hiring.
The vehicle you hire must be in a safe and roadworthy condition when you pick it up. If you have any concerns about this, discuss it with the rental company before you accept the vehicle.
If you have any concerns about the vehicle's safety or roadworthiness during the hire term, contact the rental company straight away (most rental companies give their contact phone numbers at the time of vehicle pick-up).
Businesses that hire vehicles must be licensed by us and must meet a number of legal requirements that protect them, their customers and other road users.
For example, rental companies are required to:
Your obligations to the rental company
As a vehicle hirer, you must not:
The rental company will give you a copy of your rental agreement, which you must keep in the vehicle throughout the hire term. If an enforcement officer asks to see it, you must show it to them straight away.
You must comply with New Zealand's road rules and local bylaws whenever you drive a rental vehicle.
Fatigue can affect anyone and is believed to be a contributing factor in at least 12% of motor vehicle crashes.
When you're fatigued, your judgement and decision making become badly affected and you react more slowly than you would normally. You're also less able to judge how tired you are, which means you're even more at risk of falling asleep at the wheel. This can have fatal consequences.
Find out more about identifying and preventing driver fatigue
If the driver of a hire vehicle incurs an infringement fee (instant fine) for a traffic offence that is not issued personally to the driver at the road side by an enforcement officer (eg parking and speed camera infringements), the rental company can charge the cost of this, plus an administration fee, to the hirer’s credit card.
However, they can only do this if they tell you this could happen when you pick up the vehicle, and you accept this. (Normally this is covered in the hire agreement that you sign when you collect the vehicle.)
If you have any complaints about the vehicle you hire or the rental company, it's a good idea to discuss the matter first with the company concerned. Alternatively you can talk to our contact centre.
A visitor to New Zealand can hire a vehicle as long as they have a current and valid driver licence. Learn about the other requirements you have to meet to drive in New Zealand.
We recommend that, before you agree to hire a vehicle, you confirm with the rental company that your overseas licence is all right to use for the type of vehicle you plan to hire. Alternatively you can talk to our contact centre.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution New Zealand License