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Your responsibilities as the registered person

Updated: 24 February 2014

When you acquire a vehicle you are required to notify your acquisition to the NZTA without delay. Once you have notified your acquisition you become the person registered in respect of the vehicle. This is not the same as having legal title. The person registered in respect of a vehicle is simply the person who is entitled to possession of the vehicle, for example, a person who has leased a vehicle is registered in respect of that vehicle but the person from whom they have leased the vehicle continues to be the legal owner The purpose of registration is to identify the person who is accountable for the vehicle under traffic law.

As the registered person you're responsible for your vehicle and for meeting the requirements that allow you to drive legally on the road. This includes keeping it in safe condition, and paying the licensing fees and any traffic or parking infringements.

Who can be registered in respect of a vehicle?

You can be registered in respect of a motor vehicle if you're:

  • a private individual aged 15 or over
  • a limited liability company
  • a government department, local authority or official board
  • an incorporated society or club.

(Note: only one person may be registered in respect of a vehicle at any given time.)

What you're responsible for

As the registered person of a vehicle you must:

  • tell us if you change your address
  • license your vehicle by the due date – or apply for an exemption
  • meet safety inspection requirements – warrant of fitness, certificate of fitness
  • pay road user charges (RUC) if your vehicle uses diesel or other fuel not taxed when sold or it is a heavy vehicle over 3500 kilograms (gross laden weight)
  • pay any 'owner liability' offence, such as speeding and parking fines
  • notify us without delay of the name and address of the person who has acquired the vehicle
  • give back your registration plates and cancel your vehicle's registration if you take it off the road permanently.
  • hold a transport service licence if your vehicle requires one (eg goods vehicles 6000kg or over, vehicle recovery vehicles or large passenger vehicles). Refer to Factsheet 47: Transport service licences for more information about who requires a transport service licence.

Keeping your address up-to-date

It's not only a requirement but important you keep your address details up to date so correspondence such as motor vehicle licensing reminders and driver licence notices reach you. You can update your address details online or give us a call. When you change your address for your vehicle your driver licence address is updated as well.

Proving your identity

When you register a vehicle in your name you'll need to provide evidence of your identity. Your proof of ID must be the original. We don't accept photocopies or faxes, even if they are 'certified copies'.

Acceptable ID for an individual

Documents that confirm your date of birth, full name and signature, such as:

  • a New Zealand photo driver licence
  • full birth certificate and Eftpos or credit card (for the signature)
  • a valid New Zealand temporary driver licence (21 days from date of issue). Note: Some temporary driver licences are not valid forms of ID. Your licence card will note this
  • overseas driver licence
  • New Zealand passport
  • overseas passport.

Acceptable ID for a company or organisation

  • Your NZ Transport Agency customer number. Don't have one? Contact us for more information.
  • Your certificate of incorporation. You can get a copy from the New Zealand Companies Office. In this case the copy is acceptable proof.

Buying or selling a vehicle?

You have to notify us of a change in registered person when buying or selling a vehicle. Find out more.

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Apply for a temporary exemption from continuous licensing online
You'll need your driver licence, plate number and credit card.