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A vehicle recovery service tows or carries vehicles.

It requires a transport service licence if it isn’t exempt under the Land Transport Act (eg you don’t need a transport service licence to tow a friend’s car with your own in the case of a breakdown).

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, 71 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 for persons in control

TSL label

The Land Transport Rule: Operator Licensing 2017 requires all vehicles operating under a vehicle recovery 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 vehicle recovery 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

Penalties for operating an unlicensed service

It’s illegal to operate an unlicensed vehicle recovery 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 vehicle recovery service