New Zealand has a driver licensing system to make sure that everyone who drives or rides on our roads has the skills and knowledge necessary to be a safe road user. The safer drivers are, the safer our roads will be.
A licence to drive a motor vehicle is a privilege that is only given to people who pass the driver licence tests and demonstrate respect for the rights and safety of others.
Photo driver licences help identify drivers. They are one of the best ways to catch unlicensed and disqualified drivers.
Licences with photos help the police to check that new and inexperienced drivers (people on learner and restricted licences) don't break the conditions of their licence.
Note: A special condition may apply to all or to only some of the classes and endorsements held. If no specific classes or endorsements are listed, the special conditions recorded apply to all.
If your licence is issued with conditions on it you must follow them when you ride.
The reason some people have conditions on their licence is because they may not be a safe rider unless they follow the conditions. If you do not follow the conditions you could be issued with a ticket and receive demerit points and a fine.
A common example of a licence condition is that the rider must wear corrective lenses when they ride. Licence conditions are printed on the reverse side of your photo driver licence.
Note: additional conditions that must be followed by people on a learner or restricted licence are not recorded on the reverse side of your licence. See Stage 1 - Learner licence for details of learner licence conditions and Stage 2 - Restricted licence for details of restricted licence conditions.
There are six classes of driver licence in New Zealand. Each class covers different types and weights of vehicle. That's because the skills you need to ride a motorcycle are different from the skills you need to drive a car or heavy vehicle.
You can apply for a Class 6 (motorcycle) licence or a Class 1 (car) licence without holding any other class of licence. But if you want a class 2, 3, 4 or 5 licence, you will need to get a full Class 1 licence first.
Note: you can ride a moped on a Class 1 licence but not a motorcycle.
A holder of a Class 1 learner or restricted licence can drive:
A holder of a Class 1 restricted licence can also drive:
The holder of a full Class 1 licence can drive:
See factsheet 11 for a full list of vehicles that endorsement* holders can drive on a Class 1 licence.
A holder of a Class 6 learner, restricted or full licence can ride:
* Certain kinds of vehicles require you to have a licence endorsement, as well as having the correct class of licence, before you can drive them. Some examples are special-type vehicles, passenger service vehicles and tow trucks. See the definitions below
To safely drive some kinds of vehicles, or to provide certain kinds of services, you need to have special knowledge or training. A licence endorsement on your driver licence shows that you have completed whatever courses or qualifications you need for that endorsement.
The types of endorsement you can get on your New Zealand driver licence, and what they allow you to do, are shown in the table below.
|Endorsement||Allows you to|
|F||Drive a forklift|
|P||Drive a passenger service vehicle, eg a bus or taxi|
|V||Drive a tow truck|
|D||Drive a vehicle that is carrying dangerous goods|
|T||Drive a special-type vehicle that runs on tracks|
|R||Drive a special-type vehicle that runs on rollers|
|W||Drive a special-type vehicle that runs on wheels|
|I||Be a driving instructor|
|O||Be a driver testing officer|
To find out how to apply for endorsements, click here or call 0800 822 422.
One photo driver licence for all classes and endorsements
Rather than getting an extra driver licence every time you get a new class of licence or new licence endorsements, you will be issued with a new licence that lists all your classes of licence and any endorsements.
This way you only need to carry one licence.
Last updated: 11 February 2015