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Simplified RUC system now in place

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Changes to simplify the road user charges (RUC) system for everyone who uses it take effect from today (August 1).

The changes include:

  • every heavy vehicle will be given a permanent ‘RUC weight’
  • supplementary licences and time licences will be discontinued
  • changes to the exemptions regime
  • reducing the administration fees for purchasing RUC licences

“These changes will reduce compliance costs for industry by making it simpler and easier to buy RUC licences and simplifying roadside checks. It also closes the door on weight-based RUC evasion, as an operator will no longer be able to underestimate the weight of the vehicle and purchase an incorrect RUC licence,” said Ministry of Transport Financial and Economic Performance General Manager Gareth Chaplin.

“We’re moving to permanent RUC weights as previously a vehicle operator had to estimate the maximum gross weight being carried during the distance covered by a RUC licence. It was difficult to predict the weight to be carried in advance and scales are not always available at loading sites.”

Mr Chaplin said charges for some individual vehicles will be greater and some less than under the old system.

“This is a very diverse sector and the new system will suit affect operators in different ways, but it is fair. Similar vehicles will pay similar charges, nobody will pay more than the average paid for the same trucks under the old system and heavy vehicles as a group will keep paying for the road damage they are responsible for.”

The Ministry of Transport will monitor the new system and will be evaluating it, including impacts on the transport industry, within the first year of implementation.

NZ Transport Agency Group Manager Access and Use Celia Patrick said the changes were the most significant reform of the road user charges system since it was introduced in 1978.

“While many operators will move seamlessly to the new system we recognise for others there will be a period of adjustment, and the NZTA will work/has been working with operators to help with that adjustment.”

Ms Patrick said that from today operators purchasing RUC licences would no longer need to nominate the weight that their vehicles will be carrying, as the vehicle’s RUC weight will already be assigned and recorded in the NZTA’s Landata system.

To help the transition, all RUC licences for heavy vehicles will expire at the end of August so operators will have one month from the start of the new system to use up any distance on the licence. Any unused distance will automatically be credited when a new licence is purchased. RUC licences purchased for light diesel vehicles do not expire and can continue to be used until the distance is completed.

Further information on the new RUC system is available on the NZTA website. The Road User Charges Contact Centre is also available to answer any queries and the NZTA encourages operators to make use of this service by calling 0800 655 644.

Questions and answers about road user charges regulations, petrol excise and road user charges increases are available on the Ministry of Transport website: http://www.transport.govt.nz/ourwork/land/pages/roadusercharges.aspx(external link)

NZTA website

The new vehicle types, weight bands and road user charges are also available on the NZTA website along with other important information for operators: www.nzta.govt.nz/ruc(external link)

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