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Road user charges (RUC) temporary reduction scheme

The government has introduced a transport temporary relief package to support New Zealanders through the current global energy crisis.

Part of that scheme is reducing RUC rates by 36%.

The government set this figure because it offers equivalent savings to the fuel excise duty cut of 25 cents a litre.

Transport temporary relief package – more information

Updated RUC reduction scheme dates

The RUC reduction scheme started on 21 April 2022.

Initially the scheme was due to end on 21 July 2022. However, the government has now announced that the RUC reduction scheme will be extended for another two months. 

The RUC reduction scheme will now end on 21 September 2022.

How the discounted rates will work

If you buy a RUC licence between 21 April 2022 and 21 September 2022, you'll be buying a licence at the reduced rate. 

You should only buy enough RUC for the distance you intend to travel during the discount period. 

When buying a RUC licence during the discount period, you'll need to complete a declaration to confirm that you're only buying enough RUC to cover the discount period. 

Check the RUC rate for your vehicle

Buy a RUC licence online(external link)

What happens if you buy too much RUC

If you already have a RUC licence

If you already have a RUC licence that will cover you for that period, you can still take advantage of the discounted rates by buying a new licence during the RUC reduction period. 

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. 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 at the discounted rate. 

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. 

Because RUC comes in units of 1000km (or 621 miles) you may need to round your licence up to the next unit. 

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.

Work out how much RUC to buy

  1. Work out your unused distance: max distance 5000km – current reading 4250km = 750km unused distance.

  2. Estimate your credit: unused distance 750km x original RUC rate per kilometre $0.076 = $57 credit.

    Hint: divide your original RUC rate by 1000 to find your original RUC rate per kilometre. If you have a type 1 RUC vehicle (most light diesel vehicles) your per kilometre rate is $0.076.

    Check the original RUC rate for your vehicle

  3. Buy the amount of units that will use all of your credit: two RUC units at the reduced rate of $98.

    Hint: one unit for a type 1 RUC vehicle at the reduced rate would only cost $49, and this wouldn’t use all of your credit. You need to buy at least two units to use all your credit.

In this example, you’ll get 1250km for $41 plus an administration fee.

This is the minimum you need to buy to use your credit. If you'll be travelling more during the discount period, you can buy more units at the discounted rate. 

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. 

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. 

Only buy enough RUC for the discount period

You should only buy enough RUC for the distance you intend to travel during the discount period.

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

If this happens, we’ll 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 buying a new RUC licence to overlap your old licence will give you more than five months' worth of RUC, you may be able to surrender your RUC licence and get a refund instead.  

Who can apply

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

  • your RUC licence is more than two years old, or 
  • you have less than 8000 kilometres of unused distance remaining on the licence. 

If you have more than 8000 unused kilometres remaining on the licence, you can apply online to surrender your RUC licence and receive a refund of the unused kilometres. 

How to apply

You'll need: 

  • Your plate number
  • Your RUC licence label - you'll need the RUC licence number
  • The vehicle's current odometer or hubodometer reading
  • Evidence of your bank account - like a screenshot, scan or photo of something from your bank clearly showing the bank's logo, your 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 the licence label is later found to be 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