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Authorised access to the register

Anybody may seek a special authorisation from the NZ Transport Agency to access the Motor Vehicle Register.

The Transport Agency can issue an authorisation to anybody to obtain current names and addresses. The Transport Agency is required to consult with the Ombudsman, Privacy Commissioner and Police Commissioner before reaching a decision on whether to grant an authorisation. An authorisation may be for any purpose and subject to any conditions specified by the Transport Agency.

The details of any organisation or individual granted an authorised access will be published on the New Zealand Gazette website. (external link)  (Find this list by searching on 'Access to motor vehicle register information' in the 'Search all notices' box.) The New Zealand Gazette is the official newspaper of the government of New Zealand and is produced every Thursday.

Who should apply for special authorised access?

An authorisation is likely to be sought by people who access Motor Vehicle Register information in bulk, or on a frequent and ongoing basis.

Who shouldn’t apply?

Don't apply for authorised access if you only require vehicle information (such as licence expiry dates or odometer history). Instead, complete a Request for motor vehicle details (MR32) form.

How to apply for authorised access to Motor Vehicle Register information

Applicants must answer a number of questions about the nature of their business and their reasons for wanting access to the Motor Vehicle Register. See the Land Transport (Motor Vehicle Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2011 (external link) for a list of those questions ( applicants must answer all questions.)

Applicants may also provide any additional information which they believe would assist the Transport Agency to make a decision on their application.

There is no application form. Applications should deal with the questions in the same order that they appear in the list and set out each question in full as a heading to each response.

Applications should be sent to:

NZ Transport Agency
Customer Response Team
Private Bag 11777
Palmerston North 4442

Application fees

The application fee varies according to the type of applicant.

Applicant type

Fee (incl GST)

Individual (not being a sole trader)

$621.46

Business that is not a representative body or member of a representative body (including a sole trader)

$854.57

Representative body with a disciplinary power

$1165.30

Representative body with no disciplinary power

$1320.65

Any other person

$1165.30

The fee must be paid to the NZ Transport Agency at the time of application. Applications will not be processed unless the correct fee is paid. Payment may be made by cheque or direct debit:

  • If paying by cheque please ensure they are made out to the NZ Transport Agency.

  • If paying by direct debit, please use our direct debit form [PDF, 31 KB] (please send the original form, not a photocopy.)

Further information about authorised access to the Motor Vehicle Register

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

The Transport Agency allows up to eight weeks from the time of receiving a complete application (together with full payment) to be in a position to provide the applicant with a draft decision. This is because applications are required to be sent to three external advisers for an opinion, before being put before a panel for review. Once a draft decision is made and forwarded to the applicant, the applicant has 14 days to respond to that decision.

Does an authorisation give me ownership history?

No. An authorisation entitles you only to obtain the names and addresses of individuals currently registered in respect of a vehicle. If you want to obtain names and addresses of individuals previously registered in respect of a vehicle you must apply to the Transport Agency. However, you should be aware that the Transport Agency does not update details of individuals previously registered. The people listed may have moved or be deceased.

What about individuals who do not want their details released to an authorised user?

Individuals who do not want their details to be released to a person holding an authorisation can instruct the Transport Agency not to release their details. This is known as an 'opt-out'. Any person can opt out. No reason is required.

Although the name and address details of opted out people will not be released under an authorisation, they can be requested from the Transport Agency 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 an opt-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 had obtained a domestic violence order would be granted a confidential listing as would people covered by witness protection arrangements.

How will the Transport Agency decide whether or not to issue an authorisation?

The Transport Agency 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 are dissatisfied with a decision made by the Transport Agency 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 is granted an authorisation and does not comply with its conditions?

The Transport Agency 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.

Such a person may also be in breach of one or more of the information privacy principles contained in the Privacy Act 1993.

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 the need to obtain an authorisation.

Class authorisations

Can a group of similar businesses receive a blanket approval to obtain access to the register?

Yes, as long as it is for a common purpose. The purpose of a class authorisation is to allow individual businesses in a particular industry authorised access without incurring the time and expense of making identical applications. In general a class authorisation is granted only where it is in the public interest.

All class authorisations expire on 30 April 2017. Renewal notices have been sent to affected customers asking them to reapply. 

An approved purpose under an authorisation is called a 'specified purpose'. If a business which is covered by a class authorisation wishes to access personal information for a purpose which is not a specified purpose, it will have to make a separate application which will be assessed on its merits.

The following industries have been granted class authorisations:

  • financial service providers (including insurers)

  • motor vehicle traders

  • service stations.

Financial service providers and motor vehicle traders

There is a strong public interest in ensuring that these groups, who conduct financial transactions in respect of motor vehicles, have access to information which helps minimise fraud or error. Financial service providers and motor vehicle traders are both subject to legislation governing their respective activities, including registration and codes of conduct, which provides greater confidence that these groups will not abuse the privileges afforded by the class authorisations.

The essence of the specified purposes for these two groups is legitimate business transactions relating to the financing, trading and insurance of motor vehicles.

The specified purposes for financial service providers and motor vehicle traders are set out in more detail in gazette notices:

Service stations

The public interest in this case is minimising the theft of fuel, as the cost of such thefts is ultimately borne by law abiding consumers.

The specified purpose is 'to trace registered persons where the occupants fail to pay for goods or services from a service station'.

More detail can be found in a gazette notice:

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