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Road user charges (RUC) temporary reduction scheme

Road user charges (RUC) to be reduced again

On 1 February 2023 the Government announced it will re-introduce the 36% reduction in RUC until 30 June 2023.

The reduced RUC rates from 2022 ended on 31 January 2023. To reduce the rates again, the Government must pass a Bill. This is being urgently drafted by the Parliamentary Council Office. We’ll update this page as soon as that Bill has been passed.

Parliament doesn't sit again until 14 February 2023, so we won't have any updates until after that date. We'll publish the start date here as soon as it's confirmed. 

Until then, RUC rates will be charged at the full rates. If you buy a RUC licence in February before the Bill is passed, you’ll be paying the full RUC rates.

We’ll continue to update this page with more information as it becomes available.

Temporary RUC reduction 21 April 2022 to 31 January 2023

The temporary RUC reduction scheme ran from 21 April 2022 to 31 January 2023.

The scheme reduced RUC rates by 36%, as part of a transport temporary relief package to support New Zealanders through the global energy crisis.

Transport temporary relief package – more information

How the discounted rates worked

During the RUC reduction period all RUC rates were cut by 36 percent.

Vehicle operators should have only bought enough RUC to cover the reduction period. When buying RUC, operators were required to complete a declaration to confirm that they were only buying enough RUC for the reduction period. 

What happens if you bought too much RUC

Buying a new RUC licence after the reduction ends

If you have a light vehicle (up to 3500kg) and you accidentally bought too much RUC during the reduction period, you may want to buy another licence after the discount ends.  

Operators of heavy vehicles (over 3500kg) must buy a new licence within one month of the reduction ending. 

When you buy your new licence, our system will automatically credit you for any unused distance.

You'll be credited back at the RUC rate you originally paid, either the standard or the reduced rate. You must use all of this credit when you buy your new licence.

How do I do this? 

When you buy a new RUC licence, you'll need to enter the current reading from your hubodometer or odometer. This will be your start distance

When you enter this distance, our system will calculate the distance you've already used (or travelled) and how much is still unused. 

Any unused distance will then automatically be credited towards the new licence you're buying. 

This is called an overlap licence.

You'll need to make sure that the end distance of your new licence is past the end distance of your old licence. You'll also need to use all of your credit on the new licence. 

For example

You have a RUC licence from 4000km to 5000km. 

Your current hubodometer reading is 4250km. 

When you apply for a new RUC licence, with a start reading of 4250km, we'll credit you back the 750km you haven't used yet, at the RUC rate you originally paid.

You must use all of your credit on your new licence.

Our system will give you an error message if you don’t use all the credit or don’t have the right end distance.

Buying RUC online

When you buy a RUC licence online, you need to change the New start distance field to your current hubodometer or odometer reading and hit the Refresh button. 

If you don't change the start distance, your new licence will start at the end of your current licence, and you won't get a credit for any unused distance. 

Instructional video on how to buy an overlap licence

Buy a RUC licence online(external link)

Buying RUC at an agent

If you're buying a RUC licence at one of our agents, you'll need to make sure you enter your current hubodometer or odometer reading into the second table on the Road user charges application for distance licence form (RUCLA). 

If you don't fill in the second table, your new licence will just start at the end of your current licence, and you won't get a credit for any unused distance. 

If you bought too much RUC during the discount period

If Waka Kotahi finds that your RUC purchases at the discounted rate were excessive, unreasonable or an abuse of the temporary rate reduction, we can charge you the non-discounted rates for your RUC.

If this happens, we’ll ask you to buy an overlap licence or send you an invoice for your RUC at the normal rate. You'll have to pay the difference between the discounted rate and the normal RUC rates.

RUC invoice information

Surrendering your RUC licence

If you've bought a lot of RUC in advance and don't want to buy an overlap licence, you may be able to surrender your RUC licence and get a refund instead.  

Who can apply

You can apply to surrender your RUC licence and get a refund if:

  • you accidentally bought too much RUC during the RUC reduction period, or
  • Waka Kotahi have sent you a letter telling you that you've bought too much RUC and need to surrender your licence.

You will NOT be able to apply to surrender your RUC licence if:

  • your RUC licence is more than two years old, or
  • you're selling your vehicle.

Selling a vehicle

How to apply

You'll need: 

  • Your plate number
  • Your RUC licence label – you'll need the RUC licence number
  • The vehicle's current hubodometer or odometer reading – provide a photo of your odometer if you can
  • Evidence of your bank account - like a screenshot, scan or photo of something from your bank clearly showing the bank's logo, the bank account holder's name and the bank account number.

Apply to surrender your licence and get a refund

Your application will take up to 10 working days to process.

After you apply

If your refund is approved, your RUC licence will no longer be valid and you must destroy it.

If we later find that the RUC licence label is still in use, we’ll issue an invoice to recover the refunded amount.

RUC assessments during the reduction period

You must always buy your RUC before you travel. 

If you don't buy your RUC in advance, Waka Kotahi could issue you with an assessment for your unpaid RUC, in the form of an invoice. 

Any invoices will be charged at the original RUC rate, not the discounted RUC rate. 

RUC assessments and invoices