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Specialist vehicle permits ( passenger service vehicles, rubbish trucks with compactors, concrete trucks, ground spreaders)

From 1 February 2017, if you operate a specialist vehicle and you want to take advantage of axle mass limits above general access limits, you need to apply for a permit.

Read the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Dimensions and Mass 2016.

Find out more about specialist vehicles .

When are permits required?

There are strict controls on the weight and axle loads of vehicles. This is to ensure safety is maintained through proper use of New Zealand’s road network.

If your vehicle exceeds the axle mass limits set out in the rule, you need to apply for a specialist vehicle permit so that the route you travel is suitable and safe for your vehicle and load.

To be eligible to apply for a specialist vehicle permit your vehicle must meet the following criteria:

  • Vehicle type is:
    • passenger service vehicle
    • rubbish truck with compactor
    • concrete truck
    • ground spreader truck.
  • Has no more than two rear axles, and four axles in total

  • Is a single unit (ie no heavy trailer)

  • Rear axle set weight required is within specialist vehicle axle mass limits

  • Does not exceed the total mass limits (external link)  noted in the rule.

What are the axle mass limits that apply?

Check to see specialist vehicle rear-axle mass limits on New Zealand roads (external link) .

Applying for a permit

From 1 February 2017, you can apply for a specialist vehicle permit by submitting an application to the road controlling authority (external link) of the road network you want to use, or through the online permit portal (external link) .

Permits are issued at the discretion of road controlling authorities.

The specialist vehicle application form will be available on this page or on the heavy vehicle permit portal from 1 February 2017.

Public transport service buses

A public transport service bus is defined as a passenger service vehicle that is operating in a public transport service that is identified in or under a regional public transport plan as defined in the Land Transport Management Act 2003.

From 1 December 2018, 2-axle public transport services buses will not require permits for rear axle weights up to 9,000 kg. Prior to that date specialist vehicle permits are required. This provides time for road controlling authorities to assess bridges and post any restrictions required to maintain safety.

Other public transport service buses, and 2-axle buses over 9,000kg rear axle weights, can continue to utilise increased axle mass limits under permit.

Road user charges (RUC)

Specialist vehicles that wish to take advantage of axle mass limits greater than general access allowances are required to carry RUC licences covering the extra weight allowed (and reflecting impact to the road network). This ensures there is a level playing field for everyone in terms of weight limits and use of New Zealand roads.

Early in 2017, temporary RUC rates will be available for specialist vehicles that are not covered by existing RUC type definitions and these temporary rates will become standard during the annual rate review process.

Find out more about road user charges.