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Land Transport Rule: Dangerous Goods 2005

This rule sets requirements for the safe transport of dangerous goods on land in New Zealand.

About the rule

The rule is available in consolidated format (ie, a full, up-to-date, version of the rule including all its amendments) or as the original, unamended rule with separate amendment rules. Choose the option that best suits your needs from the list below.

To access the consolidated version of the rule (available only in PDF format), click on ‘Consolidation’ below.

The electronic versions of legislation on this website, and any legislation printed from the website:

  • have no official status
  • are made available for information only and should not be relied on as the authoritative text.

About the questions and answers

Questions and answers are provided to accompany a new rule or amendment rule when it is signed. These versions of the questions and answers are not updated to take into account any later amendments to the rule and are retained for historic interest only.

Land Transport Rules — questions & answers

Dangerous Goods Amendment 2010

1. What Rule is being amended?

The Land Transport: Dangerous Goods Amendment 2010 ( the amendment Rule) will make changes to Land Transport Rule: Dangerous Goods 2005 (the Dangerous Goods Rule).

2. When will the amendment Rule come into force?

The amendment Rule will come into force on 1 April 2010. Until that date, the existing requirements in the Dangerous Goods Rule will continue to apply. Note that some of the specific changes coming in will have transitional periods during which the current requirements may continue to apply before the new requirements become mandatory.

3. Why is the amendment Rule needed?

  • Maintain alignment with international recommendations and codes. The Dangerous Goods Rule is based on the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods - Model regulations (UNRTDG). The UNRTDG is updated biennially, as are the international codes for sea and air transport of dangerous goods, which are also based on the UNRTDG.
  • About 80% of dangerous goods in New Zealand are imported or exported and must comply with international air or sea codes. These codes also apply to air or sea transport within New Zealand, (across Cook Strait for example), and so most dangerous goods produced here for domestic consumption are also bound by international requirements.

    To avoid having a different system for transport on land in New Zealand, and thus having to make changes to the packaging, identification and documentation, it is important that the Rule is updated to maintain alignment with the UNRTDG and the international sea and air transport codes.
  • Maintain alignment with New Zealand hazardous substances requirements. The changes will also maintain alignment of the Rule with New Zealand's Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (the HSNO Act or HSNO). HSNO applies to hazardous substances throughout their entire lifecycle, from importation or manufacture to distribution, storage, use and final disposal. Goods that are classified as dangerous for transport are generally a subset of hazardous substances, and the Rule applies only to transport on land, which is just one phase of the lifecycle of hazardous substances.
  • Introduce new requirements for substances toxic to the aquatic environment. The new requirements for environmentally hazardous substances contained in the amendment Rule align the transport of dangerous goods with the United Nation's decision to promote a sustainable environment. This specifically focuses on the UNRTDG's criteria for substances that are toxic to the aquatic environment.
  • Relax transport controls for some quantities and packages of dangerous goods. The UNRTDG now includes reduced transport controls for dangerous goods in excepted quantities and excepted packages of radioactive material, and these provisions have been included in the amendment Rule. Dangerous goods in excepted quantities and excepted packages of radioactive material are goods of low danger that are packaged in very small quantities, e.g. 30 ml of perfume.

4. Who will be affected by the amendment Rule?

The amendment Rule applies to all people involved in transporting dangerous goods, including importers, manufacturers, consignors, freight forwarders and distributors, loaders, drivers and transport operators. It will also affect people who use dangerous goods as tools-of-trade, such as painters, plumbers, engineers, contractors and farmers, and people transporting dangerous goods for private use.

However, none of the changes is likely to have a significant impact on any one group. Indeed, most of the amendments relate to specific procedures that will affect only a small number of people and, in many instances, should make it easier for them to meet the requirements of the Rule.

5. What are the general changes in the amendment Rule?

The principal purpose of the changes is to maintain alignment of the Rule with the UNRTDG and with the New Zealand requirements relating to hazardous substances. Some Rule provisions have been redrafted to make them easier to understand, and references have been updated to the latest edition of New Zealand Standard 5433: 2007 as a source of technical information for compliance with the Rule.

The amendment Rule updates requirements for:

  • packaging, identification and documentation of dangerous goods
  • segregation of dangerous goods
  • transport procedures; and
  • training and responsibilities of those involved in the carriage of dangerous goods.

6. How will the amendment Rule affect the packaging, identification and documentation of dangerous goods?

The changes include:

  • Adopting the UNRTDG marks for Dangerous Goods in Limited Quantities and Consumer Commodities. Either the current UN mark (the UN Number in a diamond-shaped border) or the new UN mark (a diamond with black top and lower quarters on a white background) must be used from 1 January 2012. Changes to marking Dangerous Goods in Limited Quantities are not compulsory until 2012.Any of the existing methods of identifying Dangerous Goods in Limited Quantities or Consumer Commodities may be used until 2012. Together with the removal of the 1000 kg limit for Dangerous Goods in Limited Quantities, standardising the marking of these products will align New Zealand more closely with the requirements for aviation and maritime transport and with our international trading partners.
  • Combining Schedule 2 and Schedule 2A and amending subclause 2.3(3). This will clarify which dangerous goods can, or cannot, be transported as Dangerous Goods in Limited Quantities. This is intended to make it easier to understand the requirements.
  • Allowing any quantity of Christmas crackers (Bon Bons) to be transported under the Small Packages of explosives provisions of the Rule.
  • Introducing provisions for excepted quantities of dangerous goods and excepted packages of radioactive material. This will allow very small quantities of low risk dangerous goods to be transported with fewer controls than other dangerous goods.
  • Requiring compliance with the packing instructions in the UNRTDG, NZS 5433:2007 or one of the international sea or air codes. The packing instructions provide guidance on which type and size of packaging is suitable for any particular dangerous goods. Following the packing instructions will ensure compliance with the general safety requirements of the Rule to use safe and appropriate packaging.
  • Requiring ‘special marks’ to be displayed on packages and tanks to warn about hazards that are not indicated by other labels or marks. The special marks are:
    • the environmentally hazardous substances mark, which must be displayed on containers of substances that are toxic to the aquatic environment. Products affected by this requirement include diesel and some chemicals used in agriculture;
    • orientation arrows to show the correct way up for packages containing spillable dangerous goods;
    • the elevated temperature mark for containers of products that are transported when hot.
  • Allowing dangerous goods placards on tankwagons carrying bitumen emulsions to be removed or covered provided a sign is displayed stating that the load is bitumen emulsions, and allowing LPG tankwagons that carry LPG, propane or butane to display placards for LPG only.

7. How will the amendment Rule affect the segregation of dangerous goods?

These changes will:

  • allow segregation dispensations for dangerous goods in excepted quantities and excepted packages of radioactive material;
  • clarify some of the rules for using segregation devices and allow diesel to continue to be transported in tankwagons with Class 3 substances, such as petrol. Neither of these clarifications affect the existing requirements.

8. What changes in the amendment Rule will affect transport procedures and the training and responsibilities of those involved in the transporting of dangerous goods?

  • Stopping at level crossings. The amendment Rule exempts vehicles carrying dangerous goods from stopping at railway level crossings controlled by traffic lights when the lights are not flashing. A similar exemption for buses was introduced in the Land Transport (Road User) Amendment Rule 2009.

    Most motorists do not expect a bus, or a truck carrying dangerous goods, to stop when the lights at railway crossings are not flashing. Requiring those vehicles to stop, presents a significant risk of a rear-end crash or of drivers making dangerous manoeuvres to avoid the stopped bus or truck.
  • Drivers without a D endorsement. Drivers transporting dangerous goods that are toxic to the aquatic environment, (i.e. UN 3077 or UN 3082, environmentally hazardous substances, Class 9), but have no other dangerous properties for transport do not need a D endorsement on their driver licence. This exemption applies to diesel that has a flash point over 60°C.

    The amendment Rule also allows a driver without a D endorsement to drive a vehicle transporting dangerous goods, if they are accompanied by a supervisor with a D endorsement. The amendment adds new responsibilities for the driver and the supervisor in those circumstances.
  • Dangerous goods transported as tools-of-trade. The amendment Rule clarifies the quantities of dangerous goods that can be transported as tools-of-trade, whether in full, empty or partially empty containers.

    The tools-of-trade quantity limits for environmentally hazardous substances have been increased. This is because diesel with a flash point over 60°C, and some agricultural chemicals that have not previously been classified as dangerous goods for transport, are now classified as toxic to the aquatic environment. They are assigned to Class 9, Packing Group III for transport on land.

    The new tools-of-trade quantity limits are 2000 litres for diesel with a flash point over 60°C, or 1000 litres for other environmentally hazardous substances (UN 3077 or UN 3082). This will ensure that the quantity of these products typically carried as tools-of-trade will be within the tools-of-trade limits for the majority of trades-people and farmers.

    When transporting quantities within the new limits, they will not need dangerous goods declaration documents, placards on their vehicle or a dangerous goods endorsement on their driver licence. However, containers such as diesel tank-trailers will have to display dangerous goods identification, emergency information and the special mark for environmentally hazardous substances.

9. Will the changes add to the compliance costs of industry operators?

The changes to the Rule are mainly of a technical nature and do not involve any changes to the policy for regulating the transport of dangerous goods on land. They are, therefore, expected to have little financial impact on the industry. Many of the changes clarify the meaning of existing provisions in the Rule and some have been requested by the industry groups to suit their particular needs.

The NZTA believes that most of the changes in the amendment Rule will not impose any additional costs on industries involved in the transport of dangerous goods. Costs may, in fact, reduce as a result of clarifying requirements and making other minor amendments to the Rule.

There are, however, two provisions that may impose some costs on industry, although those costs are expected to be small. One is the clarification that the new environmentally hazardous substances classification criteria (which affect diesel with a flash point over 60°C and other substances toxic to the aquatic environment) apply to transport on land in New Zealand. The other change is the requirement to attach package orientation marks to dangerous goods that must be kept upright to avoid spillage. For more information, see the amendment rule.

10. Is there a transition period between when the amendment Rule is signed and when it comes into force?

Yes, for some changes, such as classifying diesel as an environmentally hazardous substance or marking packages with special marks (the environmentally hazardous substances mark and orientation arrows), the new requirement does not take effect until 1 January 2011. Changes to marking Dangerous Goods in Limited Quantities are not compulsory until 2012. For details of changes that apply from 1 January 2011 or from 1 January 2012, see the amendment Rule.

However, most of the changes, which will have minimal costs or may promote savings, will take effect on 1 April 2010.

11. How will the amendment Rule be enforced?

The amendment Rule will be enforced by the Police in places where dangerous goods are prepared for transport and on the roads and rail network.

12. Who is responsible for ensuring that the amendment Rule is complied with?

Everyone involved in preparing, loading and transporting dangerous goods is responsible for ensuring they comply with the amended Rule.

13. What are the penalties for non-compliance with the amendment Rule?

Significant penalties for non-compliance with the Dangerous Goods Rule are set out in the Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999. Maximum infringement fees (instant fines) of $2000 apply to individuals and $10,000 for companies. More serious offences may result in court action, with maximum penalties of $10,000 for an individual and $50,000 for a company.

New offences and penalties have been established for the driver and the supervisor for failure to comply with the new responsibilities in relation to driving without a current dangerous goods driver licence endorsement. For more information see the Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999.

14. What is the statutory basis for the amendment Rule?

The Land Transport Act 1998 (the Act) allows the Minister of Transport to make Land Transport Rules.

Section 156 of the Act provides for the Minister of Transport to make ordinary rules that set out the requirements and provisions concerning the packing, loading, consignment and carriage of dangerous goods within the land transport system.

15. How will the NZ Transport Agency make sure people know about their responsibilities under the amendment Rule?

To raise the public's awareness of this law change, an information campaign for affected stakeholders and industry groups will commence before the amendment Rule is implemented.

16. How can I obtain a copy of the amendment Rule?

A copy of the final amendment Rule will be available for purchase from selected bookshops that sell legislation or from Wickliffe Limited, telephone (06) 358 8231.

17. How can I obtain further information about the amendment Rule?

Further information about the amendment Rule may be obtained by calling the NZ Transport Agency Contact Centre on freephone 0800 699 000.

Final rules are available on our website

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