This page contains questions and answers relating to changes in the Regulations for vehicles exempt from paying RUC.

What vehicles are exempt under the RUC Act 2012?

As of 1 August 2012, a RUC vehicle is exempt from RUC if it:

  1. belongs to a class of vehicles whose purpose or design means it is unsuitable for regular road use and the compliance costs associated with collecting RUC from the vehicle are disproportionate to the likely amount of road use (section 38).

    Examples of such vehicles include tractors, forklifts, and bulldozers.

    View the complete list of the vehicles that will be exempt from the requirement to pay RUC because they are unsuitable for regular road use(external link)

  2. is a light electric RUC vehicle whose motive power is wholly or partly derived from an external source of electricity (section 37).

The RUC Collector (the NZ Transport Agency) can also exempt individual RUC vehicles on a case-by-case basis.

What about light RUC vehicles suitable for regular road use but operated almost exclusively off-road?

The government has agreed to implement a new exemption for light RUC vehicles suitable for regular road use, but operated almost exclusively off-road. For example, a ute used on a large farm.

The new exemption will come into force on 6 June 2013 and will replace the existing exemption for light RUC vehicles used for farming purposes, which will end on 30 June 2013.

The NZ Transport Agency will administer the exemption. Visit the NZ Transport Agency website(external link) for details on eligibility criteria, cost, and application processes for an exemption. 

Time Licences

The time licence system was removed.

Most vehicles previously required to purchase time licences are now exempt from paying RUC under section 38 of the RUC Act 2012.

The one exception is unregistered vehicles operated under trade plates.

What has happened to unregistered vehicles operated under trade plates?

Unregistered vehicles do not meet the criteria for an exemption under section 38, as the time licence is issued for a trade plate rather than individual vehicles.

Currently unregistered vehicles operated under trade plates are required to have distance licences, but it is difficult to collect RUC through normal processes for these vehicles, as distance lincences are issued against a vehicle's registration number.


How will these changes affect the overall amount of RUC collected by the government for the National Land Transport Fund?

Overall the impact is intended to be revenue neutral.

Why is the light electric vehicle exemption being extended to 2020?

Uptake of light electric motor vehicles is slower than was projected in 2009 due to a range of factors such as the price of light electric motor vehicles not coming down as quickly as anticipated in 2009. The risk to RUC revenue streams is therefore considered much smaller than was projected in 2009.

Consequently, the government has decided to extend the exemption from paying RUC from 30 June 2013 to 30 June 2020.

The government remains committed in its support of uptake of light electric motor vehicles. Electric vehicles can contribute to reduction in transport emissions and greenhouse gases and reduce New Zealand’s reliance on imported fossil fuels.