A heavy vehicle has a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of more than 3500 kilograms. There are two classes of heavy vehicle:
These vehicles cannot be left-hand drive. You need to convert left-hand drive models unless they are specialised vehicles that depend on the left-hand drive configuration.
Find out more about importing a left-hand drive vehicle
All imported heavy vehicles first registered in New Zealand after 1 July 2008 must meet an approved brake standard. See the Land Transport Rule: Heavy-vehicle Brakes 2006.
|Vehicle has to meet standard if made on or after...||What sort of standard?||Under what legislation?|
|1 January 2006||
||Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Lighting 2004 and Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Lighting Amendment 2005|
|27 February 2005||Installation standard for lighting on this class of vehicles
fitting requirements in Lighting Rule**
Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Lighting 2004
|1 October 2004||Tyres and wheels*||Land Transport Rule: Tyres and Wheels 2001|
|1 January 1996||Rear-view mirrors||Land Transport Rule: Glazing, Windscreen Wipe and Wash, and Mirrors 1999|
|1 January 1996||
||Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Lighting 2004|
|1 January 1992||Rear reflectors||Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Lighting 2004|
|1 January 1991||Glazing||Land Transport Rule: Glazing, Windscreen Wipe and Wash, and Mirrors 1999|
|Varies||Seatbelts and seatbelt anchorages*||Land Transport Rule: Seatbelts and Seatbelt Anchorages 2002|
* You may fit components that meet New Zealand standards to your vehicle after it arrives in the country.
Your vehicle has to be entry certified when it first arrives in New Zealand.
You must have the safety belt anchorages checked by an entry certifier if your heavy truck was manufactured after 1 October 2003.
Your vehicles must meet emission standards.
You must register and license your vehicle and take it for regular certificate of fitness inspections.
Choosing the right heavy vehicle, maintaining it in good condition and driving safely are steps you can take to stay safe on the road.
Choosing and operating a heavy vehicle
This toolkit’s infocards contain important information for commercial road transport drivers and operators. The cards can be printed and used in the workplace.
View the Commercial road transport toolkit
Anyone using New Zealand's roads contributes towards their upkeep. Most road users pay levies in the prices of their fuel. Others, such as drivers of light diesel vehicles and diesel-powered heavy vehicles like trucks, pay through RUC.
Find out more about road user charges
A certificate of fitness (CoF) is a regular check to ensure that your vehicle meets required safety standards.
The ORS aims to improve the safety of heavy vehicles on our roads, making journeys safer for all. ORS provides the environment for willing compliance, encouraging transport operators to make their vehicles and driving practices as safe as possible, and to comply with their regulatory obligations that contribute to safety.
If you want to carry divisible loads, such as logs, milk powder or freight, more productively, you may be able to operate on a HPMV permit.
Vehicles travelling on New Zealand roads must be within a certain size and weight. This is so they can fit on the road safely – get around corners, fit under bridges, etc.
The maximum size and weight dimensions for vehicles are set out in the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Dimensions and Mass 2016. But sometimes, larger or heavier vehicles need to use the road. This commonly includes farm vehicles and vehicles used in house relocation.
Find out more about overweight and overdimension permits
You need a heavy vehicle licence to drive heavy vehicles such as trucks, trailers, buses and heavy forklifts. In New Zealand we have four licence classes for heavy vehicles, and you must have the right licence for the type and weight of vehicle you want to drive. In some cases you’ll also need special endorsements.
If you are setting up a business specialising in goods transport or vehicle recovery, read our information about tow trucks.
Check our real-time updates on highway conditions before your start your journey.