Register and license your car

Licensing means paying a fee to use your vehicle on public roads. This is the label that is displayed on your windscreen.

The AA is authorised by the NZ Transport Agency to be Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agents.

Registration and licensing

Your vehicle must be both registered and licensed for you to legally drive it on the road. Licensing is often incorrectly called registration.


Vehicle registration is where a new car is added to the Motor Vehicle Register and given registration plates. The combination of numbers and letters on the plate is used to identify the vehicle, and enables it to be traced to an owner. The one-off registration fee covers the cost of the plates and administration.


Vehicle licensing is the annual or six-monthly fee you pay to use your vehicle on public roads. The fee helps pay for motoring-related costs and initiatives.

The licence fee goes to the National Land Transport Fund for road construction, and to safety programmes run by the New Zealand Transport Agency and the Police. It is broken down as:

  • The Motor Vehicle Account Levy is collected on behalf of the ACC, and covers injury medical costs
  • An administration and licence label fee funds services provided by the New Zealand Transport Agency and its agents
  • Penalties for vehicle registration or licence offences

The standard penalty for driving an unregistered or unlicensed car is $200, but from 1 May 2011, Police have been able to issue driver licence demerit points for these offences. The introduction of demerits is intended to be a more effective deterrent to those who try to avoid paying their annual vehicle re-licence fees.


Pricing varies based on licensing requirements and from 1 July 2015 annual motor vehicle licence levies will reduce by an average of 45% for most vehicles (except motorcycles, mopeds, trailers and caravans).

For cars aged under 40 years, the actual reduction will vary according to the cars’ safety rating, calculated by ACC. The annual savings will range from $42-132 for petrol-powered vehicles, and $82-172 for diesels. ACC tax on petrol will also fall 3 cents per litre on 1 July 2015.

For further information go to the NZTA website or call 0800 108 809.

One location for all your car and driver licensing needs

Visit your nearest AA Centre or AA Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agent for information on:

  • New car registrations
  • Change of ownership
  • New licence number plates
  • Car re-licensing
  • Road user charges

AA speaking up for motorists

The AA supports the current vehicle registration and licensing schemes which see revenue invested in road construction and safety programmes.

Opposition to licensing fees that penalise car preferences

The registration and licensing fees should not be weighted to influence the type of vehicle that a motorist buys, for example charging a higher fee for vehicles with larger engines as a measure to combat climate change.

Motorists choose to buy a larger car for many different and valid reasons, for example to transport a large family, or for towing. These motorists already contribute more for their choice of vehicle via taxes at the fuel pump.

Frequently asked questions

Your vehicle registration can be put on hold for a maximum of 12 months. This can be done on your behalf if you are overseas by providing the plate number, date of birth and address of the registered owner.