Road User Charges 

What are Road User Charges, and who pays them?

The cost of road maintenance is included in the price of petrol and other taxed fuels (including compressed natural gas or CNG, liquefied petroleum gas or LPG). Heavy vehicles and vehicles that run on untaxed fuel such as diesel, must pay Road User Charges (RUCs). 

RUCs are a tax that is paid into a fund called the National Land Transport Fund, which is controlled by the NZ Transport Authority, and goes towards the cost of repairing the roads. If you have to pay RUC then you have to display the appropriate RUC licence at all times on the inside of the passenger's side of the front windscreen.

Road User Charges are payable by people who own:

  • a vehicle weighing more than 3,500 kilograms or
  • a vehicle weighing less than 3,5000 klograms (i.e. a 'light vehicle') which runs on untaxed fuel (e.g. diesel), other than electricity.

For more information on road user charges for light vehicles, see the NZTA factsheet, Road User Charges: light vehicles. More information about Road User Charges in general, including how to calculate the approximate amount you have to pay, is on the NZTA website.

What happens if I don't pay my Road User Charges?

You buy a RUC licence in 1000km units, and need to purchase another licence before you have travelled the distance covered by the previous licence. 

If you don’t then at your next warrant of fitness or certificate of fitness check, the inspection agent will see that your RUC licence has ‘overrun’. You could be liable for an infringement fee, fine, or an automatic assessment invoice sent from the NZ Transport Agency. 

Will I have to pay Road User Charges if I only drive my heavy vehicle around the farm?

If your vehicle is not designed to be regularly driven on the road, then you may be exempt from road user charges. Such vehicles include tractors, forklifts and bulldozers.

For a full list of vehicles types which are exempt visit the NZ Transport Agency’s RUC exemptions page. You’ll also find information about how to apply for an exemption.