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Waka Kotahi helping drivers navigate through lockdown period

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says legislative changes to driver licensing and vehicle certification requirements coming into effect tomorrow (10 April) will help drivers and vehicle owners safely navigate through the COVID-19 lockdown period and beyond.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford has announced a series of changes which will temporarily extend the validity of driver licences, endorsements, Warrants of Fitness (WoFs), Certificates of Fitness (CoFs) and other certification documents during the lockdown period.

To help smooth the transition back to compliance, the legislative change provides a temporary extension to the following expired documents:

  • WoFs and CoFs, driver licences, and vehicle certifications issued under the Vehicle Standards Compliance Rule that expired on or after 1 January 2020.
  • Endorsements (including drivers of passenger services and dangerous good endorsements held by some truck drivers) that expired on or after 1 March 2020.

The legislative changes also provide a temporary suspension of the requirement to have a current and valid registration sticker (commonly known as a ‘rego’), if the vehicle licence expired on or after 1 January 2020.

Drivers are still encouraged to licence their vehicle on-line where possible. When you buy your next vehicle licence (rego), it applies from the date your previous licence (rego) expired.

Waka Kotahi General Manager Regulatory Services Kane Patena says the changes are aimed at easing the concerns of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who own or drive vehicles in a private or commercial capacity or hold endorsements issued by Waka Kotahi by providing much-needed clarity during the lockdown period.

“Questions about the impact of expiring driver licences, WoFs and CoFs have been front of mind for many owners and drivers since New Zealand entered Alert Level 4 on March 26. Waka Kotahi has been working closely with Ministry of Transport to find solutions which will allow people to continue to undertake essential travel safely without risking fines or prosecution. Our goal is to ensure that everyone who needs to travel to access essential services can do so, provided the vehicle they use is safe to drive on public roads.

“People should not be afraid to undertake essential travel at this time solely because a document has expired which is unable to be renewed.”

Mr Patena stressed that the temporary extensions introduced by the legislative change are intended to enable essential travel only, and do not remove the responsibility for drivers to ensure their vehicles are safe, or the need to comply with all other road rules.

“During the lockdown people should stay home and stay local. For those undertaking essential travel, the law already requires drivers to ensure that their vehicles are up to WoF or CoF standard every time the vehicle is used on the road, regardless of how recently the vehicle has passed inspection. It’s every driver’s responsibility to ensure their vehicle remains safe to operate during this extension period. Waka Kotahi has an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide for undertaking a basic self-inspection on our website, and we urge people to use it.”

View the self-inspection guide using the TWIRL procedure (Tyres; Windscreen, wipers and mirrors; Indicators; Rust; Lights).

Mr Patena says private motorists will also be allowed to have essential repairs undertaken, such as fixing punctured tyres or damaged windscreens, to keep vehicles safe and operational to access essential services. These services have been available for essential workers throughout the lockdown period.

Mr Patena says Waka Kotahi is working with industry groups to manage the anticipated spike in demand for vehicle inspections and driver licensing requests after New Zealand moves out of Alert Level 4 into recovery.

“We have been exploring a range of possible solutions with stakeholders across the sector to manage the anticipated demand as New Zealanders look to get their documents back up-to-date when the country moves out of Alert Level 4. There are several options under consideration, as it is still uncertain what recovery will look like. We are committed to keeping the public and industry groups informed as further information becomes available.”

Waka Kotahi has updated the frequently asked questions available on our website, and new information will be added as it becomes available.

View the frequently asked questions

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