Road user charges (RUC) are paid on all diesel vehicles and on all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes.

The Ministry of Transport is responsible for creating and maintaining the legislation and Regulations for road user charges.

The New Zealand Transport Agency is responsible for collecting (and enforcing) road user charges.

The Government has announced changes to road user charges and petrol excise duty (effective 30 September 2018) respectively.

View the questions and answers on the 1 October road user charges and 30 September petrol excise duty increases

To find out your RUC charges for 1 October 2018 onwards, you can use our online RUC calculator

Legislation and Regulations

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 and is part of a package of reforms to simplify and modernise the road user charges (RUC) system.  Regulations associated with the new Act also came into force on 1 August 2012.

An initial evaluation of the changes in August 2013 found 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.

About road user charges

Why do we pay road user charges?

All the revenue collected from road user charges goes into the National Land Transport Fund. This Fund is used mainly for road construction and maintenance, along with other activities benefiting road users. 

For example, during 2015-2017/18 expenditure on roads was distributed to:

  • State highways: 56 percent
  • Local roads: 21 percent
  • Road policing: 9 percent
  • Public transport: 10 percent
  • Walking and cycling: 1 percent
  • Other: 3 percent

How does the government decide how much we pay?

RUC rates are set according to what type of vehicle you drive, and how much it weighs. The heavier a vehicle is, the more damage it does to the road surface. Other factors are also considered, such as the number of axles and tyres your vehicle has. A four-axle truck with two double sets of wheels at the rear will cause less damage to a road, for example, because it spreads its weight across the ground more evenly than a truck with fewer axles and wheels. 

A cost allocation model is used to indicate what the rates should be.

How do we pay our road user charges?

RUC can be paid to NZ Transport Agency via its website, or through its agents such as NZ Post shops, and the Automobile Association.  It’s a bit like car registration except that you do not get a reminder, and you have to pay it according to the distance on your odometer (or hubodometer for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes). It is enforced through NZ Transport Agency and Police checks.   

Where can I find more information about RUC?

You can look at the NZ Transport Agency website(external link), or ring the help-desk at the RUC Contact Centre on 0800 655 644, Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.

Diesel car users

Charges for light petrol and diesel vehicles In New Zealand, light vehicle users pay for their use of roads through either fuel excise duty (currently 63.024 cents per litre on petrol) or road user charges (for diesel vehicles and other vehicles not subject to fuel excise duty). All vehicles are also subject to an annual licensing fee (commonly known as the registration, or “rego”), which varies according to whether the vehicle uses petrol or diesel.

On average, petrol and diesel vehicle users pay the same amount, but the different charging systems mean that some people pay more, and some less. The following link explains the differences in charges, and the reasons vehicles with different fuel types are treated differently.

Read more about the charges for light petrol and light diesel vehicles.

Money from fuel excise duty and road user charges is allocated to the National Land Transport Fund. This fund is used to pay for the National Land Transport Programme, which sets out the NZ Transport Agency’s programme for building and maintaining New Zealand’s land transport network.

The majority of money paid in vehicle registration and licensing fees is passed to ACC, although a small component is also paid into the National Land Transport Fund

Historical information