About your responsibilities

Becoming a motorcyclist brings with it many responsibilities, which are explained in this section. Some are related to owning a motor vehicle, while others are the responsibility of all motorcyclists and drivers.

Registered person's responsibilities

If the motor vehicle is registered in your name, you are responsible for making sure that the following requirements are met.

Warrant of fitness or certificate of fitness

All vehicles driven on New Zealand roads must have a current warrant of fitness (WoF) or certificate of fitness (CoF). See Motorcycle requirements for more information about WoFs and CoFs.

Registration

All vehicles driven on New Zealand roads must be registered. When you register a vehicle, it is added to the Motor Vehicles Register. Once a vehicle is registered, it is issued with registration plates and a current vehicle licence. A certificate of registration is also sent to the person registered in respect of that vehicle.

Before a vehicle can be registered, it must have been given a vehicle identification number (VIN) and been approved for registration by an approved vehicle inspector. Vehicle inspectors can be found at participating offices of the Automobile Association (AA), Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ), and Vehicle Inspection New Zealand (VINZ).

Relicensing

Relicensing is sometimes confused with registration. Relicensing is the payment of a fee to use a vehicle on the road. All vehicles used on the road must be relicensed regularly and must display a current licence label on the windscreen.

To get a vehicle licence, you must:

  • make sure your vehicle has a current WoF or CoF
  • fill out the relicensing notice (MR1) that you should receive in the post, or fill out an Application to license a motor vehicle (MR1B), which is available from any NZTA agent
  • pay the appropriate fee.

You can also relicense online at the NZTA's Transaction Centre.

A vehicle licence is valid for up to 12 months. Most vehicles must be licensed continuously. This means that the licence fees must be paid from the expiry date of the previous licence (that is, if you renew your licence after the expiry date of the previous licence, the licence fees will be backdated and you must pay these).

You can apply for an exemption from continuous licensing if you won't be using your vehicle for a period of three months or more. An exemption means that when your licence expires, the licence fees won't be backdated next time you relicense your vehicle. An exemption does not mean that you can use your vehicle on the road without a current licence. Talk to an NZTA agent for more information.

If you don't:

  • relicense your vehicle, or
  • apply for an exemption from continuous licensing

and the vehicle remains unlicensed for more than 12 months, its registration will lapse.

You will still have to pay any backdated licence fees and, if the vehicle is to be used on a road again, it must be re-registered with new plates and registration papers. Your vehicle may also need to be certified by an approved vehicle inspector.

Buying a motor vehicle

Before you purchase a vehicle, an NZTA agent can check to see whether it is registered and licensed, or has been reported stolen. It's a good idea to do this before you buy the vehicle, because once you have bought it:

  • you will be liable for any outstanding fees owing on the vehicle
  • you may lose the vehicle if it has been stolen.

Once you've bought a motor vehicle, you need to notify the NZTA within seven days of the sale. The seller may want to confirm that you've done this before they hand over the vehicle. You need to do the following:

  • Obtain a notice by person acquiring motor vehicle form (MR13B), available from an NZTA agent.
  • Complete the notice by person acquiring motor vehicle form and give it to an NZTA agent with the appropriate fee.
  • Show the agent your New Zealand driver licence as evidence of identification. If you don't have your driver licence, you'll need to show other identification that includes your full name, signature and date of birth.
  • Ask the agent to give you a transfer receipt. Take this to the seller when you pick up the vehicle – it shows you have changed the vehicle's registration into your name.

You can also complete this transaction online at the NZTA's transaction centre.

A new Certificate of registration, will be sent to you once your application has been processed by the NZTA. The Certificate of registration isn't legal title for the vehicle – it is simply a record of who is responsible for the vehicle.

Selling a motor vehicle

If you are selling a motor vehicle:

  • Obtain a Notice by person selling/disposing of motor vehicle form (MR13A), available from an NZTA agent.
  • Complete the Notice by person selling/disposing of motor vehicle form and post it to the NZTA, Private Bag 11777, Palmerston North 4442 (no stamp required).
  • Make sure you and the new registered person complete  seller/buyer forms within seven days of the sale. If you don't, you could be liable for the buyer’s speed camera tickets, licensing fees and any fines they may receive for not displaying a current WoF or a current licence. Ask them to show you one of the following documents as evidence they've changed the vehicle into their name:
    • change of registered person transfer receipt
    • an email confirmation page (if they have completed their transaction online)
  • If you sell your car through a registered motor vehicle trader they should notify the change for you, but it is wise to check that they have done this.

You can also complete this transaction online at the NZTA's transaction centre.

Call the motor vehicle registration contact centre on 0800 108 809 if you have any questions about:

  • your responsibilities as the person registered in respect of a motor vehicle
  • where to obtain any of the forms, or
  • where to find an NZTA agent.

This service is available between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays).

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Last updated: 28 March 2012