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Specialist vehicle permits

If you operate a specialist vehicle and you want to take advantage of axle mass limits above general access limits, you need to apply for a permit.

Find out more about specialist vehicles

Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Dimensions and Mass 2016

When are permits required?

There are controls on the weight and axle loads of vehicles. This is to ensure safety is maintained through proper use of New Zealand’s road network.

If your vehicle exceeds the axle mass limits set out in the rule, you need to apply for a specialist vehicle permit. Permits are only able to be issued for route(s) that are suitable and safe for your vehicle and load.

To be eligible to apply for a specialist vehicle permit your vehicle must meet the following criteria:

  • Vehicle type is:
    • passenger service vehicle
    • rubbish truck with compactor
    • concrete truck
    • ground spreader truck.
  • Has no more than two rear axles, and four axles in total

  • Is a single unit (ie no heavy trailer)

  • The maximum axle set weight sought is within the specialist vehicle axle mass limits

What are the axle mass limits that apply?

Check to see specialist vehicle axle mass limits on New Zealand roads(external link).

Applying for a permit

You can apply for a specialist vehicle permit by submitting an application to the road controlling authority of the road network you want to use, or through the online permit portal. You will also need to apply for a specialist vehicle road user charges (RUC) licence (see below for more information).

Road controlling authorities(external link)

Online permit portal(external link)

Permits are issued at the discretion of road controlling authorities.

Download the application form for a specialist vehicle permit or find it on the heavy vehicle permit portal. Please note that applications to Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency must be made through the permit portal.

Application form for a specialist vehicle permit [PDF, 87 KB]

Road user charges (RUC)

Specialist vehicles operating at higher axle mass limits under permit are required to carry RUC licences covering the extra weight allowed (and reflecting impact to the road network). This ensures there is a level playing field for everyone in terms of weight limits and paying a fair contribution to the cost of maintaining New Zealand’s road network.

The rates are available on the specialist vehicle RUC application form.

Specialist vehicle RUC application form [PDF, 84 KB]

Read questions and answers [PDF, 186 KB] about specialist vehicle RUC rates or find out more about road user charges.

Road user charges

Public transport service buses

A public transport service bus is a passenger service vehicle operating in a public transport service that is identified in or under a regional public transport plan as defined in the Land Transport Management Act 2003.

2-axle public transport services buses do not require permits for axle weights up to 9000 kg.

Other public transport service buses, and 2-axle buses over 9000kg axle weights, should use increased axle mass limits under permit.

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