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COVID-19 SERVICES UPDATE: Information on Waka Kotahi services

Changes to Motor Vehicle Register access came into effect 1 November 2017

Why  we made this change?

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is committed to ensuring that the privacy of personal information is protected, that personal information is provided to those who are authorised, and only to those that are authorised. Our move away from class-based authorisations was part of a series of changes that will better enable Waka Kotahi to manage this process. It will also allow Waka Kotahi to provide better service and better communications with our customers who use this service.

Who should apply for authorised access?

An authorisation is likely to be sought by people who access current name and address information in the Motor Vehicle Register on a frequent and ongoing basis. An authorisation allows access to current names and addresses only. You don’t need an authorisation to access vehicle information, nor to confirm known name details.

Those who access name and address information through an online portal* no longer have access unless they are also a member of an approved industry body such as MTA or have successfully  applied for their own authorisation.

Who shouldn’t apply for authorised access?

Don't apply for authorised access if you only want vehicle information (like the licence expiry date or odometer history). Instead, complete a Request for motor vehicle details form (MR32). Current fee $15 inc GST. Alternatively, your chosen portal* provider is likely to offer these checks for free, or for a lesser fee.

If you only want to confirm if someone is the current registered person, try the Check registered person query online form(external link) – it’s free and returns an instant result that you can have emailed to yourself.

If you’re a member of an industry body that has made an application on behalf of their members (e.g. the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ), the Motor Trade Association (MTA), the Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association (VIA) and the Financial Services Federation), you don’t need to make your own application unless you want access for reasons outside of the application made by the industry body.

Do I already have access through my industry body membership?

You can check who already has authorised access to the Motor Vehicle Register by looking at the list on the Waka Kotahi website, link). The full list of approved industry bodies who have applied on behalf of their members are:

  • Financial Services Federation (FSF)
  • Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association (VIA)
  • Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ)
  • Motor Trade Association (MTA)
  • National Automotive Industry Technology Association (NAITA)
  • NZ Bankers Association
  • NZ Institute of Private Investigators (NZIPI)

The Motor Industry Association (MIA) is currently being processed.

If you are a member of one of the above listed industry bodies, but your organisation's name doesn't appear on the current list on this website(external link), please get in touch with your industry body as Waka Kotahi needs to get refreshed membership lists from them. 

Standard terms for vehicle traders, fuel suppliers, and finance companies and insurers

To help with the timely processing of applications, Waka Kotahi developed sets of standard terms for vehicle traders, fuel suppliers, and finance companies and insurers. See link) for the definitions.

How long will it take for my application to be processed?

Waka Kotahi generally allows up to eight weeks from the time of receiving a complete application (together with full payment) to provide you with a draft decision.

All applications are sent to three external Government advisers for an opinion, before being put before a Waka Kotahi panel for review. Once a draft decision is made and forwarded to you, you have 14 days to respond to that decision.

Does an authorisation give me ownership history?

No. An authorisation only allows you to access the names and addresses of individuals currently registered in respect of a vehicle. If you want to access the names and addresses of individuals previously registered in respect of a vehicle. You must apply to Waka Kotahi. However, you should be aware that Waka Kotahi doesn’t update details of individuals previously registered. The people listed may have moved or be deceased.

What about individuals who don't want their details released to an authorised user?

Individuals who don’t want their details to be released to a person holding an authorisation can instruct Waka Kotahi not to release their details. This is known as an opting out. Any person can opt out(external link). No reason is required.

Although the name and address details of people who’ve opted out won’t be released under an authorisation, they can be requested from Waka Kotahi and may be released depending on the circumstances of the case.

Alternatively, individuals may apply for a confidential listing. This confers a higher level of protection than opting out but the eligibility criteria are harder to satisfy. In general, confidential listings are granted only in cases where there is a genuine threat to the safety of the individual. For example, people who have a domestic violence order would be granted a confidential listing as would people covered by witness protection arrangements. Requests to make a listing confidential are dealt with on a case by case basis so people who want to apply can phone the contact centre(external link) for more information.

How will Waka Kotahi decide whether or not to issue an authorisation?

Waka Kotahi is obliged to first consult the Ombudsman, the Privacy Commissioner and the Commissioner of Police, but makes the final decision on an application.

What can I do if I’m dissatisfied with the decision?

If you’re dissatisfied with a decision made by Waka Kotahi not to issue an authorisation, you can ask the Ombudsman to investigate that decision. You also have the option of seeking a judicial review of the decision.

What happens to a person who's granted an authorisation and doesn't comply with its conditions?

Waka Kotahi may, where a breach has occurred, impose additional conditions on an authorisation or limit its terms, or even cancel it. An example of a breach is where an authorisation is granted for a specified purpose but the information supplied under that authorisation is used for a different purpose.

They may also be in breach of one or more of the information privacy principles contained in the Privacy Act 2020.

What about vehicle safety recalls by motor vehicle importers and manufacturers?

Where a safety recall involves a serious or imminent threat to public safety or the life or health of an individual, the information may be released under the Official Information Act without an authorisation.

Where do I send my application?

Applications should be sent to:

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency
Exemption Assessments
Private Bag 11777
Palmerston North 4442

If you have any questions, we can be emailed at the following address:

* Portals are CarJam, Centrix, Equifax (Veda Advantage), Infolog, LemonCheck, Motochek and MotorWeb (Trade Me).