Every motor vehicle that operates on a public road must be licensed.

What is the motor vehicle license? RUC detail

Every motor vehicle that operates on a public road must be licensed. A motor vehicle license must be displayed on the front left of the windscreen of the vehicle. In New Zealand, the term motor vehicle licensing is colloquially called ‘rego’ by the public.

How is motor vehicle licencing different to motor vehicle registration?

A motor vehicle is generally registered once. Most motor vehicles are registered when imported into New Zealand. Registration involves recording the motor vehicle’s key features (model, colour, year). Registration results in number plates being assigned to the vehicle.

Motor vehicle licensing happens annually, and ensures the information provided when the vehicle was first registered remains up to date and correct, including the details of the person responsible for the vehicle. Vehicle licensing results in the issue of a license and permits the vehicle to be on a public road.  

Why must a vehicle be licensed?

Vehicle owners who have a motor vehicle licensed under their name pay an licensing fee.

The majority of money paid for a motor vehicle license goes to Accident Compensation Corporation, to help pay for personal injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents. The rest of the money, excluding GST, goes to the National Land Transport Fund, which helps funds the building, maintenance and operation of our land transport system.

The motor vehicle licence includes:

  • $43.50 from each fee goes to the National Land Transport Fund
  • an Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) levy, depending on the vehicle type and fuel type.
  • GST, administration fees, and other fees (such as the cost of the label itself).


Why is motor vehicle licencing more expensive for diesel vehicles and for goods service vehicles?

The difference in costs between equivalent vehicles with different fuels is because there is ACC levy on every litre of petrol, which does not apply to diesel.

ACC levies are set so that a diesel vehicle travelling the average distance per year is subject to a similar levy per year as a petrol vehicle. However, this is an average, and some vehicles will be subject to more, and some less, depending on how much they travel.

ACC levies also vary depending on vehicle type. Goods service vehicles pay more because they have a higher risk rating, and drive greater distances than standard cars. This is similar to the way the ACC levies for motorcycles are higher, due to the high accident rate and cost of motorcycle accidents.