The Road User Charges Act 2012 was passed on 14 February 2012 and came into force on 1 August 2012. It replaced the Road User Charges Act 1977.

About the Road User Charges Act 2012

The Road User Charges Act 2012 simplifies and modernises the road user charges (RUC) system.

The changes introduced in the Act are the most significant changes to the RUC system since it was introduced in 1978.  The Act makes the system easier to understand and fairer for all those who pay road user charges.

The changes include:

  • each vehicle having its own permanent RUC weight
  • removal of the time licence system
  • simplifying the list of vehicles exempt from paying road user charges
  • improvements to the system to enable greater compliance
  • an improved regulatory framework for electronic management systems
  • fairer offences and penalties especially for light diesel vehicles

These changes will reduce compliance costs for businesses and simplify administration processes for industry and government.  It also allows the NZ Transport Agency to take greater advantage of modern technology for administration and collection of RUC.

Government concern about RUC evasion, conservatively estimated at $30 million a year, has also been addressed. Previously honest payers of RUC were subsidising those who did not pay.  The Act removes a number of evasion opportunities and encourages timely payment, making the system fairer for all.

Cost allocation model review

A review of the RUC cost allocation model has also been completed. This review has focused on ensuring that RUC is allocated appropriately between users and changing the model to make it simpler and more transparent.

Read more about the cost allocation model review.

Road User Charges Regulations

The road user charges system requires regulations to support the Act. These have been developed by the Ministry with input from the NZ Transport Agency.

Read more about the Road User Charges Regulations.

Outcomes and evaluation

Many of the outcomes and impacts are expected to become apparent over the longer term (i.e. within three to five years), but an initial evaluation from Allen & Clarke in August 2013 investigated early progress towards the objectives, compares the effectiveness of the modernised and previous systems, and investigates whether any further adjustments are necessary.

Allen & Clarke’s first evaluation report [PDF, 1.7 MB] finds changes to the RUC system have been relatively successful in creating greater equity, and that based on both industry and government perceptions, the new RUC system has more integrity than the previous one.

The second stage evaluation [PDF, 1.7 MB] also includes a particular focus on how the RUC system works for light diesel vehicles. The evaluators found that light diesel vehicles owners have relatively limited knowledge of the RUC system and identified that it is common for this group to overrun the distance covered by their RUC licences.

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