Legal exemption for e-scooters extended by five years 


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has extended the legal exemption for e-scooters in New Zealand which allows them to be used without being classified as motor vehicles for a further five years.

The declaration which exempts e-scooters with a maximum power output of 300 watts from being classified as motor vehicles was first introduced in September 2018, for a period of five years.

E–Scooters (Declaration Not to be Motor Vehicles) Notice 2018(external link)

The exemption means that e-scooters are not required to meet motor vehicle standards or be registered when used. In practice this means that riders are not required to have a driver’s licence, e-scooters do not have to have number plates on them, and they can be used in different spaces, including on footpaths.

Waka Kotahi National Manager Regulatory System Design Chris Rodley says the decision to extend the exemption by a further five years has been made following a thorough review into the effectiveness and safety of e-scooters, including engagement with key stakeholders and an online public survey.

E-scooter declaration renewal decision

“Our overall conclusion is that e-scooters have made, and continue to make, a useful contribution to the land transport system. Their use is increasing across New Zealand, they are increasingly used for transport rather than just for recreation, user satisfaction is generally high, and they have emissions reductions benefits,” he said.  

Mr Rodley also acknowledged the concerns about the safety of e-scooter use that were raised during the review.  

“Our review found that while the greatest risk is to e-scooter riders themselves, some pedestrians also feel anxious or stressed about sharing the footpaths e-scooters. 

“While there are mechanisms in place to ensure the safe use of e-scooters, such as geo-fenced no-go and low-speed zones for rental e-scooters, Waka Kotahi believes that there is scope for further improvements, such as lower speed limits in high pedestrian areas and more use of speed limit signage. 

“Over the next five years we will continue to explore these and other measures to promote the safe and responsible use of e-scooters. 

“These improvements will be progressed through a co-ordinated approach between multiple parties, including Waka Kotahi, local authorities, share-scheme e-scooter operators, the Ministry of Transport, Police, and others.”  

More information about E-scooter declaration renewal decision