We’re working hard to improve permitting


Improving the HPMV permitting process is a priority for the Transport Agency. To help us help you, this article includes tips to speed up your permit approvals.


The NZ Transport Agency is working hard to make New Zealand’s freight transport system both safer and more efficient. One of the Transport Agency’s key priorities is to move more freight with fewer truck trips; this will be achieved, largely, through the uptake of high productivity motor vehicles (HPMVs). An important part of this will be ensuring that the HPMV permitting process is easy to use, robust and responsive to the needs of freight transport businesses.

Since the beginning of this financial year the Transport Agency has issued approximately 2,800 over-mass permits, 920 over-length permits and just over 900 50MAX permits. The Transport Agency permitting team have been working closely with Permit Issuing Officers and industry representatives to continue to improve the permitting processes around the country.

National permitting manager Kelly Timms says the Transport Agency has significantly improved permit times and is now issuing 50MAX permits within two working days of application.

“However, more complex HPMV permits which require specific route, local road access and bridge analysis can take significantly longer. HPMV permits require bridge-by-bridge analysis which takes time and while many permit applications can take about a month to process, other more complex permits can be even longer,” she says.

Mrs Timms says the Transport Agency is working with industry representatives to streamline the permitting process further and ensure applications are handled as quickly as possible.

“Talking and listening to industry has resulted both in improvement in our processes and to the quality of applications coming through. We’ve still got some way to go; but work is underway to improve the process further. By their nature HPMV permits are complex, they need to be in order to protect the road infrastructure and most of all public safety. There are also a number of other players involved in the process, namely local councils and the Police. So any changes we make need to include them and their processes, while remaining legally compliant. Operators can help the progress of their permit approvals by ensuring applications are completed fully, accurately and with adequate information to enable our Permit Issuing Officers to understand their needs,” she says.

Rework by the Permit Issuing Officers or sending the permits back in order to get clarification, causes undue delay in permit issuing, especially when the permitting demand is high. Because the numbers of HPMV applications are rapidly increasing, any disruption in the permitting process can result in a lengthy delay in obtaining the permit.

Here are some common errors to avoid which will help speed up your permit approvals:

Vehicle Configuration Details – Must be complete and accurate

The vehicle configuration details make up ‘Part C’ of the HPMV Permit Application form. The Permit Issuing Officers are often unable to process applications if some of these details are missing or incorrect. If the information, such as axle spacings, tyre sizes and typical/operational axle mass is inaccurate, the permit produced will be invalid.

Route – Must be clear and concise

Clear details need to be given of the entire proposed route. Missing out key information, such as a stretch of state highway or the local roads you need to travel on in order to get on/off the highways (when leaving the origin or arriving at the destination), will disrupt the normal permitting process and cause rework and delay. A map to show where the intended route starts and ends and the path you would like to take can be useful. Keep in mind that each route and vehicle combination needs to be assessed, a different vehicle combination/weight for a previously approved route might not be approved.

Vehicle Attribute Forms – Must be provided with correct data

The Permit Issuing Officer cannot perform required Vehicle Safety checks if the Attribute Forms are not provided. This will result in your application being put on hold until the Attribute Forms become available.

Over Length permits

Vehicles requiring both Over Length and Higher Mass permits must be approved for Over Length before the Higher Mass permit can be processed. Delays can occur if one has been approved but not attached to the HPMV application or where one has not been applied for and the Permit Issuing Officer needs to refer on for the Over Length permit to be actioned.

These can be done in parallel but it is important to recognise that the Over Length permit must be received before the HPMV permit can be fully completed.  If you have obtained the Over Length permit it should be attached to your HPMV application, or sent to the Permit Issuing Officer that you submitted your application to when it is obtained.

Contact Person – Must be able to answer questions regarding vehicle configurations and route

A contact person who is not able to provide a quick and concise answer to a query from the Permit Issuing Officer can cause delay or confusion and affect the progress of an application. The queries are normally related to vehicle configuration details and route, so the contact person listed needs to be someone who is close to the fleet management and can answer these questions accurately.

For information and regional contact addresses click here(external link).