What are the possible high productivity motor vehicle (HPMV) combinations available to me?

The allowed vehicle combinations are:

  • a standard vehicle combination operating on a higher mass HPMV permit restricted to a specified route
  • a pro-forma vehicle combination operating on an overlength HPMV permit with general access at the standard axle mass limits – automatic approval if conditions are met
  • a 50MAX vehicle - The 50MAX truck combination is a new generation high productivity motor vehicle (HPMV) that allows for safe and more efficient transportation of goods. It is slightly longer than standard 44-tonne vehicles, has an additional axle (9 in total) and can have a total weight of up to 50 tonnes when using the 50MAX network (hence the name). 50MAX vehicles have a similar impact to standard 44-tonne trucks (by spreading the load across more axles) which allows greater network access without requiring significant improvements to roading infrastructure.
  • a pro-forma vehicle combination operating on an overlength HPMV permit with general access at the standard axle mass limits, and on a higher mass HPMV permit restricted to a specified route
  • a non pro-forma vehicle combination operating on an overlength HPMV permit restricted to a specified route and/or a higher mass HPMV permit restricted to a specified route. Non pro-forma combinations may not get a permit, please check before building or committing to a contract.

What is a pro-forma vehicle?

A pro-forma  (approved non-standard) vehicle combination is approved for general access to New Zealand roads at 44 tonnes. It has been designed by industry and approved by the Transport Agency. 

If you apply for an overlength HPMV permit using a pro-forma design, the approval is ‘automatic’ assuming that the general conditions are met, including roll stability control (RSC) being fitted and active on the trailers.

Find out more about pro-forma designs for HPMVs

What is the process for approval of new pro-forma combinations

The process for new pro-forma combinations is that a design is submitted by the manufacturer to an industry group, for example the Log Transport Safety Council or the Truck and Trailer Manufacturers Federation. The design is then circulated to other operators and manufacturers for comment and, if supported will then be assessed against some performance-based standards (PBS). The results of the PBS report are then reviewed by the Transport Agency, and if acceptable in terms of safety and ‘fit on road,’ it is approved.

Fit on road is based on quad-semi performance, such that they will be able to travel anywhere a quad semi can go. That means they will not be suitable for all transport operations, and will need to be carefully considered for use off state highway or major local roads.

Can my existing truck take advantage of these weights or is it only for new trucks?

We expect that a range of existing trucks may be eligible for higher mass HPMV permits but it will depend on the configuration of your combination. Some possible truck and trailer configurations are shown on our webpage about high productivity motor vehicles.

Permits can allow the vehicle combination to exceed a gross weight of 44,000 kilograms. However, other factors, including the particular axle configuration of your vehicle and your proposed route, will determine how much over 44,000kg the vehicle can go.

Some vehicle components may also need upgrades. We will continue to discuss HPMV operating conditions with the industry, as some may need upgrades of components such as brakes, tow couplings, load anchor points, lights and stability controls before they are eligible for a permit.

I have a 22m log truck permit, can I carry more logs?

There are several 20m long log truck combinations operating with 2m of rear overhang to 22m overall length under permit. These combinations are currently limited to having the highest point of any load being 3.2m. As long as this height limit is not exceeded, and any other conditions listed on the permit are complied with, you can apply for a higher mass HPMV permit. These trailers will either require RSC or operate with a minimum static roll threshold (SRT) of 0.4g (an SRT table or graph is required for demonstrating compliance, available from your certifying engineer).

If your load will exceed 3.2m in height, you will need to get an overlength HPMV permit.

Any new 20m standard log trucks will need to be fitted with an adjustable rear underrun system if they operate with up to 2m of rear overhang; the other option is to use a longer pro-forma combination.

I cube out within the current weight limits but would like to carry more. Would an HPMV permit allow me to?

Height and width limits are not changing, but there is the option to increase length under permit, which could allow you to carry more.

Read more information about high productivity motor vehicles on our website
Find out more about the pro-forma design options available for HPMVs

How do I apply for an HPMV permit?

Applications for HPMV permits for state highways are managed through our Permitting Team.

Apply online(external link)

If you are planning to use a state highway as part of your trip, you should contact us first.

Councils and road controlling authorities will be responsible for issuing permits on their local roads. Permits are issued at the discretion of roading authorities.

On which roads is an HPMV permit valid?

There is no restriction on where you can apply for an HPMV permit. However the Transport Agency can only approve permits for state highways that we assess as suitable for HPMVs.

An HPMV must only operate on roads identified on the permit. This must include local roads used for accessing fuel stops.

Permits may have other restrictions that you are required to observe. You are also required to carry signs that identify your vehicle as HPMV permitted – for more information, read our page on high productivity motor vehicles.

Signage when load is reduced

If an HPMV carries a standard load that doesn’t exceed 44,000kg, then the ‘H’ sign can be removed but does not have to be.

If the vehicle is a non pro-forma overlength vehicle and operates on a route specific permit, the sign must remain in place at all times.

How long will issuing an HPMV permit take?

It will depend on the complexity of your route (how many Transport Agency regions and the number of local council roads you want to use) and the amount of assessment we need to do. If we are concerned about the ability of the infrastructure to handle heavy loads, it may be that your application has to be declined. In that case we will tell you why.

How long do HPMV permits last?

HPMV permits are usually issued for up to 24 months, depending on the routes and the loads, and also on your freight task and application.

How often can I travel on my permit?

Unless there are specific conditions on your HPMV permit, there is no additional restriction on the number of trips your vehicle can make on the approved route, as long as you fully comply with your permit. Failure to comply with your permit could result in financial penalties and withdrawal of the permit.

I need to make a single higher mass trip. Can I get a single trip higher mass HPMV permit for that?

You can apply for a single trip permit but you may find the time needed to make the application and assess it makes it less suitable than a general HPMV permit that allows a number of journeys over time.

What happens if I want to travel off an approved HPMV route?

Your HPMV permit allows you to travel at weights above 44 tonnes but only on approved routes. Your HPMV permit does not allow you to carry those higher axle weights off approved routes, even when operating below 44 tonnes.

If you want to leave an approved route you must comply with the standard limits for axle weights and gross mass. As long as you comply with these rules there are no special restrictions on travel.

What happens in the event of a breakdown?

If the vehicle can’t be safely repaired on site, there are two options:

  • Apply to the PIO for an emergency temporary permit (during normal office hours)
  • Have the vehicle removed/recovered in accordance with the vehicle guidelines

In a road closure situation, the Police and road controlling authority may direct the use of a different route. The onus is on the driver to advise that they are travelling on a HPMV higher mass permit.

What are the general conditions for an overlength HPMV permit?

The vehicle must:

  • meet the dimensions thresholds provided on the Transport Agency application form
  • have an ‘H’ sign if permit is for a specific route or area at front and rear of the vehicle combination that meets the specifications in the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Dimensions and Mass 2016 – this must be displayed at all times
  • not operate on any road with a prescribed length restriction if the vehicle exceeds that restriction
  • have lights at the rear of the combination, these must be of the light emitting diode (LED) type to address voltage drop
  • have repeater side indicator lights placed approximately midway along the side of the trailer
  • only have original truck manufacturer approved modifications made to the truck frontal protection area
  • have approved standard marking (conspicuity tape) in red/white displaying either the ‘E in a circle’ mark, or the ‘DOT – C2’ mark, that outlines the shape of the vehicle from both sides and rear, or LED side marker lamps fitted at a maximum of 2m intervals along the side of the vehicle as close as practical to the load bed
  • have roll stability control (RSC) fitted and active on all trailers.

Who is responsible for meeting the conditions specified in the permit?

The holder of the transport services licence (TSL) (displayed in the windscreen of the truck) towing the combination is responsible together with the driver/operator for operating within and meeting the conditions specified in the permit. They will be held individually and collectively accountable for any non-compliance. Please ensure that your drivers understand this.

In addition to the conditions listed on the permit, all other road rules apply. These permits do not allow you to speed, exceed log book hours or run red lights. All road rules will be enforced in the same way as they will for any other road user.

This is also true for your vehicle condition – all vehicles operating on roads in New Zealand must meet the minimum certificate of fitness (CoF) standard at all times.

I want to get a new truck/trailer, how can this rule benefit me?

We have been talking with truck and trailer suppliers about the rule amendment. Talk to your vehicle supplier about the best options for your business. We have also developed some pro-forma (approved non-standard) vehicle designs that may be of help.

Read more about high productivity motor vehicles
View the pro-forma HPMV designs

Can my full trailer be longer than 11.5m?

The maximum length for a standard full-trailer is 11.5m. This length can be exceeded if used on an approved pro-forma, or a route restricted non pro-forma HPMV. This may cause operational issues if the towing vehicle identified on the HPMV permit is non-operational. Please consider carefully the appropriateness of a longer-than-standard vehicle for your particular business, and how CoF inspections, breakdowns and movements between depots might be managed.

I was involved in the HPMV permit trial. Can I get the same permits now?

We will consider any applications for HPMV permits. The trials were run under controlled conditions and not all vehicle combinations that were included will be eligible for HPMV permits (eg 6-axle tractor/semi-trailers are not eligible).

What tolerances will be applied to my HPMV?

An overlength HPMV operating at 44,000kg or less will be subject to the weight tolerances specified in the Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999.

A higher mass HPMV will have the same tolerances applied as a standard. If any of these tolerances are exceeded, the permit is voided and standard vehicle enforcement practices will apply. 

Read the Vehicle dimensions and mass permitting manual

Why is my higher mass HPMV not allowed the maximum axle masses in schedule 3, Part 3 of the rule?

The axle and axle set mass identified on your higher mass HPMV permit may be below the standard legal maximum allowed for a general access combination. This may be due to infrastructure issues, as well as the spread of weight over a structure.

I hold an overweight permit to move import/export ISO containers to/from the port on a tractor semi-trailer. What happens to my current permit? Am I eligible for an HPMV permit?

The new rule does not affect your current permit. Permits will still be available under the current policy limits, including the restriction of 44 tonnes gross mass. But some vehicle combinations currently covered by this policy may now be eligible for HPMV permits without the current restrictions being applied.

What does this mean for RUC?

Road user charges (RUC) are based on vehicle weight. If you want to carry more weight you will have to pay higher RUC, and these will be enforced in the same way as for any other vehicle.

Read more about RUC

Monitoring, evaluation and review – questions and answers

See also our Monitoring, evaluation and review questions and answers [PDF, 35 KB]