Owners of light diesel vehicles, ie those less than 3,500 kg, that are used almost exclusively off road now have the option of applying for a permanent exemption from paying road user charges (RUC), reports the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA).
Celia Patrick, the NZTA’s group manager of Access and Use, says the new exemption type is one of the last sections of the RUC Act 2012 to be introduced and replaces all existing RUC exemptions for off-road light diesel vehicles.
“The new exemption recognises industrial users, such as those in the farming, forestry and horticultural sectors, who frequently use light diesel vehicles mostly off road,” says Ms Patrick.
“The exemption comes into force on 6 June 2013. Vehicle owners with currently exempt light diesel vehicles (those with EA or EB label) therefore have until 30 June to either apply for a new exemption, or to buy a RUC licence.
“An exemption granted on these grounds remains valid for as long as the nominated person retains ownership of the vehicle and complies with the conditions of the exemption.”
The conditions of the exemption mean the vehicle must:
“For some people, the new exemption will reduce the time and cost of applying for off-road refunds. But people who use their light diesel vehicles on public roads for significant periods, will need to stay with the current system of buying a RUC licence, keeping appropriate records, and then applying for an off-road refund for the distance the vehicle was driven off public roads,” says Ms Patrick.
Road user charges contribute to the National Land Transport Fund and are designed to ensure everyone pays their fair share towards the development and upkeep of public roads and other land transport programmes.
Vehicle owners can apply online for an exemption from RUC, or phone the NZTA on 0800 655 644 for an application form. Each application attracts an administration fee of $115 (including GST). The application form along with more information about RUC is available at www.nzta.govt.nz/ruc(external link)