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NZ Transport Agency (NZTA)
Information about the regulations for the use and modifications of 4WD's

 Land Transport NZ

Improving land transport to make a better New Zealand


Here are just a few important issues, which affect 4WD owners on the LTSA Website.

Due to the increasing complexity of owning and modifying 4WD’s for use in Off-Road driving it is become increasingly more important that the operators of 4WD’s are more aware of the implications of owning 4WD vehicles.

Ignorance is NOT a valid defence for committing an offence!

The Official New Zealand Road Code

The official New Zealand road code is a user-friendly guide to New Zealand’s traffic law and safe driving practices. You will be tested on this information in your theory and practical driving tests.

               Click here for the Road Code

Fuel economy labelling

About fuel economy information and labels

From 7 April 2008 cars for sale will have to display information about the vehicle's fuel economy. This will help buyers choose a vehicle that uses less fuel.

A vehicle with lower fuel consumption can be expected to go further on a full tank and save money, while at the same time reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that cause pollution and contribute to climate change.

Fuel economy information must be displayed for light vehicles - i.e. cars, utes and vans under 3.5 tonnes - whenever it is available. The information should be available for most new and late model used cars (manufactured since 2000 and imported from Japan since 2005). It is not required for motorcycles or vehicles over 3.5 tonnes.

The site explains what you need to know about fuel economy labelling - what it means and how to produce and display the information and labels if you need to do so. 

Driver licence classes

 You may need a Class 2 licence if you drive a vehicle (4WD) in excess of 4.5 tons or have a combined weight if towing a heavy trailer with a bush 4WD or compertition 4WD on it.

Driver licence classes cover cars, motorcycles and heavy vehicles, and are based on the type of vehicle and the weight of the vehicle (not on the RUC licence).

Class 2 is the medium rigid vehicle licence. A holder of a Class 2 learner or full licence can drive:

  • any rigid vehicle (including any tractor) with a GLW of more than 4500 kg but less than 18,001 kg
  • any combination vehicle with a GCW of 12,000 kg or less
  • any combination vehicle consisting of a rigid vehicle with a GLW of 18,000 kg or less towing a light trailer (GLW of 3500 kg or less)
  • any rigid vehicle with a GLW of more than 18,000 kg that has no more than two axles
  • any vehicle covered in Class 1.

    Get the Factsheet for Driver Licence Classes Here 

Heavy vehicle driver licences

 You need a class 2, 3, 4 or 5 driver licence to drive heavy motor vehicles.

You must have the right class of driver licence for the type and weight of vehicle you want to drive. (Factsheet 11, Driver licence classes explains the vehicle types and weights covered by each class.)

               Get the Factsheet for the Heavy vehicle Driver Licences Here

Road user charges (RUC)

We pay towards our roads through levies in the price of some fuels or through road user charges.

Road user charges are paid for:

  • vehicles with a manufacturer's gross laden weight over 3.5 tonnes
  • vehicles with a manufacturer's gross laden weight up to 3.5 tonnes that are powered by a fuel which is not taxed at source (such as diesel).

     Get the factsheet for the Road User Charges Here

Road user charges: 1–6 tonne vehicles

The information in this factsheet applies to vehicles over 3.5 tonnes manufacturer's gross laden weight and all vehicles of 3.5 tonnes or less powered by fuel not taxed at source. (Diesel)

             Get the factsheet for the RUC for 1-6 Tonne Vehicles

 Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association
The Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association Inc (LVVTA) was established by a group of car clubs and associations, all with an interest in vehicle modifications, during 1990 when the Government began to introduce regulations that could affect the motor car hobby. The NZ Four Wheel Drive Association  is a member of this association.

 Hobby Car Manual

The definitive guide to vehicle building and modification has finally been printed and copies can be purchased from the NZ Hot Rod Association who has published it. Although NZHRA are the publishers there was considerable input from other motoring groups including the NZ 4WD Association. The manual is a requirement for all vehicle certifiers as a reference.

The NZHRA can be contacted at nzhra@hot.rod.org.nz

You will need to provide your NZFWDA membership number to get the discounted price of $150.00

Bull Bars

If you're thinking about fitting a bullbar to your vehicle, you need to read this factsheet first. It explains the safety issues and legal requirements for bullbars on cars, four-wheel-drive vehicles (4WDs), vans, utes and pick-up trucks (class MA, MB, MC and NA vehicles).

Fitting a bullbar can affect your safety, the safety of other road users and your wallet. In many cases it's illegal to fit a bullbar, and removing it later could make fitting one a waste of time and money.

             Get the factsheet about Bull Bars Here

ANCAP crash tests

Land Transport New Zealand is a member of the Australian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP). ANCAP tests judge the protection provided to front-seat occupants wearing safety belts in serious head-on and side-impact crashes.

             Get the info about ANCAP tests Here

LTSA offers warning and advice to 4WD owners.

What you need to know about owning and driving a 4WD safely.

If you think you've seen a lot more 4WD recreational vehicles on the road recently, you'd be right. Indications are that the numbers of 4WD recreational vehicles on New Zealand roads is steadily increasing.

However if you are considering buying a 4WD recreational vehicle you must be aware that they are not cars and they do handle differently. Research results suggest that 4WD vehicles can be safer than passenger cars in certain circumstances but less safe in others.

For instance 4WD recreational vehicles have been found to be 'aggressive' towards other road users. This means that when they crash into another road user they deal out a highly disproportionate amount of damage to the occupants of other cars, pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists.

              What you need to know about owning a 4WD

          Used car safety ratings by market group: 4WD - compact 

          Used car safety ratings by market group: 4WD - medium 

          Used car safety ratings by market group: 4WD - large 

Updated 5 April 2008


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