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Supplementary registration plates

Updated: 27 March 2014

Under the law, it is mandatory that a registration plate is legible and unobscured. Section 28 of the Land Transport (Motor Vehicle Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2011 allows drivers to obtain supplementary registration plates that can be attached to objects such as dog boxes or bike racks that obscure permanent registration plates.

This means drivers don’t have to remove and reattach registration plates when they carry objects that obscure them.

Supplementary registration plates:

  • must bear the same set of characters as that of the registration plates currently assigned to that vehicle
  • can only be attached to a motor vehicle that bears the ordinary or personalised plate of the same registration number
  • are not to be mandatory. Drivers can choose to remove their usual registration plate and attach it to the object that is obscuring it
  • are smaller than normal registration plates (300mm x 114mm) and have the word ‘supplementary’ along the bottom.

How to apply for a supplementary registration plate

A supplementary registration plate costs $19.69 and can be obtained by going to the LicenSys website. Click on the supplementary tab on the top of the page and fill in the appropriate application form, or phone 0800 736 253.

Frequently asked questions

What is a supplementary registration plate?
A supplementary registration plate is an additional, smaller number plate that can be attached to an object that temporarily obscures a vehicle’s front and/or rear registration plate, eg a bike rack or dog box.

Is a supplementary registration plate necessary if an object obscures the front and/or rear registration plate of a vehicle?
No, a supplementary plate is optional. You could remove the front and/or rear plate from your car when it is obscured, attach it to the object that is obscuring it, and then return it to your vehicle when you are finished using the object.

Do you have to display registration plates at all times?
Yes, you could be fined if your registration plate is obscured or illegible.

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