There are strict controls on the weight and axle loads of overweight vehicles. This is to protect our road network. If your vehicle exceeds the load limits, you need to apply for an overweight permit before you travel.
The maximum weight limits for vehicles are set out in the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Dimensions and Mass 2016.
If your vehicle or load is also overdimension, you will also require an overdimension permit.
Check the permit manual or talk to a heavy vehicle certifier to see if the vehicle will qualify for an overweight permit. Not all vehicles qualify – and if the vehicle is too big, you won't be able to use it on New Zealand roads.
Not all loads qualify for an overweight permit. If you want to carry divisible loads such as logs, milk powder or freight more productively, you may be able to operate on a high-productivity motor vehicle permit.
ISO containers can be transported using HPMV permits.
Sealed ISO containers for export, with appropriate documentation, can also be transported under overweight permits.
Drivers of heavy vehicles can be registered and approved to self-supervise crossings on certain bridges which would normally be supervised by an engineer – this is called bridge engineering self supervision (BESS).
Applying for an overweight permit
To apply for an overweight permit on State Highways, please submit your application through the online permit portal (external link) .
For overweight permits on local roads, please contact your local council for an application form.