A goods service delivers or carries goods, whether or not for hire or reward, using a motor vehicle that has a gross vehicle mass* of 6000kg or more, including one that is ‘on hire’ to carry goods.

*gross vehicle mass means the maximum safe operating mass for a vehicle (including the mass of any accessories, crew, passengers, or load) that is derived from the design, capabilities, and capacities of the vehicle’s construction, systems, and components, and that:

(a) is determined by:

(i) Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency; or

(ii) the manufacturer of the vehicle; or

(iii) if the vehicle is modified after manufacture, a certifier approved by Waka Kotahi; and

(b) may be recorded in kilograms on the register of motor vehicles.

How do I apply?

You'll need to apply at a driver licensing agent. 

Find a driver licensing agent in your area

You need to provide:

For any questions regarding transport service licence applications please email tsl@nzta.govt.nz

Persons in control

Under section 30L of the Land Transport Act 1998, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency must be satisfied that anyone who will have, or is likely to have, control or involvement in the operation of the transport service is a fit and proper person.

Anyone who has direct or indirect control of any part of the management of the organisation must complete a Personal details form (TL02) [PDF, 83 KB] and provide evidence of identity. This is so we can determine if they all meet the requirements of a fit and proper person. 

Requirements of persons in control

Type of goods service

When you apply for your goods service licence, you’ll need to tell us what type of service you’ll be providing.

You can choose from the following options. You can choose as many options as you need to.

TL01 Form Definition guidance

Businesses that operate with horticulture - plants and machinery.


  • agricultural compounds and horticulture farming – around the orchard/farm and carrying produce, wool and other products
  • added value services connected with - viticulture, picking operators, food processing.

Larger commercial operator that moves large quantities of livestock.


  • veterinary services
  • animal welfare
  • slaughtering
  • stock transport.

Excludes the smaller farming operator.


All larger operators.


  • engineering
  • roading construction
  • residential and commercial building companies
  • larger bulk cartage.

Can include some specialist vehicles - concrete pump trucks, water/vacuum trucks.


Includes the smaller operator:

  • plumbers
  • builders
  • landscapers
  • drain layers
  • earth moving
  • all tradies.

Businesses that operate specifically for/or linked to school buses or school activity.

Businesses that provide training for drivers to gain a heavy vehicle licence (classes 2-5).


Smaller farm operators who require a TSL for their own farming activities (eg small on-the-farm use, around the farm or carrying stock to market. Use of a tractor, horse float or horse truck).

Includes farmer taking their own produce to market but does not include the transporter company.

Larger operator sits under Livestock.


Operators working in forestry and wood processing.


  • logging operations
  • forestry advisors
  • log traders.
Heavy haulage

Operators associated with transporting oversized, overweight or over dimension loads, load piloting and heavy recovery. Usually require permits, and generally over 50 tonne.


  • large cranes,
  • large swing lifts
  • specialist vehicles.
Linehaul freight/cartage

Operators that move freight/cartage using small and large trucks/containers between cities or long distance.


  • warehousing and distribution operators.

Excludes local freight/cartage which sits under Local goods/cartage.

Local Goods/Cartage

Operators that deliver general goods, and local deliveries.


  • those selling used heavy vehicles/trucks
  • refrigerated delivery trucks, swing lifts and containers.

Adventure operators, operates tours, scheduled routes.

Excludes Motorhome rentals which is a RSL type.


Operators that carry any waste or rubbish matter.

Includes recycling truck operators.

TSL label

The Land Transport Rule: Operator Licensing 2017 requires all vehicles operating under a goods service licence to display a TSL label.

TSL labels are required so that operators who rent, lease, borrow or share vehicles can move their details easily between vehicles. The labels also allow a passenger or enforcement officer to identify the licence the service is working under.

Find out more about TSL labels

Certificate of knowledge of law and practice

One of the requirements for getting a goods service licence is that either the licence holder or a person in control of the service needs to hold a certificate of knowledge of law and practice.

This shows that the holder of the certificate has the required knowledge of the laws and practices relating to the safe, efficient and proper operation of a transport service.

Find out how to get a certificate of knowledge of law and practice

Annual TSL fees

There’s an annual TSL fee of $120.12 for each vehicle operated under your TSL. You'll pay this as part of each vehicle's licence fees (rego).

More information about annual TSL fees

Penalties for operating an unlicensed service

It’s illegal to operate an unlicensed goods service. If you’re convicted, you may face a fine of up to $10,000. The fine increases to a maximum of $25,000 for subsequent convictions.

In addition to the fine, the court may impound vehicles used in an unlicensed service for up to 90 days (no matter who owns them).

More information

More information about running a truck business

More information about trucks

Read Getting started: becoming a truck operator or operating a truck business in New Zealand