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Authorised access to the Motor Vehicle Register

What is authorised access?

Under section 241 of the Land Transport Act 1998 (LTA), specified persons or classes of persons may be authorised to have access to the names and addresses of persons currently registered to motor vehicles, and information on those vehicles (authorised access).

Authorised access is granted for specified purposes and on certain conditions.  These authorisations are granted via notices that are published in the New Zealand Gazette.

Authorisations are only granted after Waka Kotahi has made an assessment as to whether the authorisation is appropriate, and has consulted with the Privacy Commissioner, the Chief Ombudsman, and the Commissioner of Police.

Our list of authorised users is available here, where you can check if someone has an authorisation. This will provide you with a link to the relevant notice, where you can view the specified purpose for which that user has access, and the conditions that apply to that access.

What information is obtained under authorised access?

Authorised access enables the authorised user to obtain names and addresses of persons currently registered to motor vehicles, and information on those vehicles, directly from the Motor Vehicle Register for specific purposes, without having to request this information from Waka Kotahi each time they need it.

Does an authorisation give me registration history?

No.

Authorised access only gives you access to the names and addresses of individuals currently registered in respect of a vehicle. If you want to access the names and addresses of individuals previously registered in respect of a vehicle, you must apply to Waka Kotahi for this information outside of your authorised access. However, you should be aware that Waka Kotahi doesn’t update details of individuals previously registered. The people listed may have moved or be deceased.

Does an authorisation give me information about individuals who have ‘opted out’?

No.

Individuals who don’t want their details to be released to a person holding a section 241 authorisation can instruct Waka Kotahi not to release their details. This is known as ‘opting out’. Any person can opt out and no reason is required.

Online services 'opt out' page(external link)

If someone ‘opts out’, it means that their name and address will not be obtainable via an online search by authorised users who have standard access under section 241 of the LTA.

Is it possible to get access to opted out information?

Yes.

Standard authorised access does not generally provide access to the names and addresses of persons who were previously registered to motor vehicles, or who have ‘opted out’ of having their names and addresses released to authorised users.

However, Waka Kotahi has approved a limited number of authorised users to have additional access to names and addresses of previous registered persons and and/or people who have opted out.  This additional access is granted in limited circumstances for a specific purpose, and on specific conditions, under section 237(2)(d) of the LTA where Waka Kotahi has determined that the information may always be disclosed under the Official Information Act 1998, in those specific circumstances.

These users can directly access this additional information from the Motor Vehicle Register, without having to request it from Waka Kotahi each time.

In addition to the above, there are other legal avenues for requesting and obtaining this information. For example, a specific request under the Official Information Act, the Privacy Act 2020, or section 237(2) of the LTA.

Access to information about persons with ‘confidential status’ is not permitted under either level of access.  

What is the difference between ‘opting-out’ and ‘confidential status’?

Opting out

Opting out is a very limited form of restricting access to personal information on the Motor Vehicle Register. Opting out only prevents authorised users from accessing name and address information on the Motor Vehicle Register under section 241 of the LTA.  Even if someone has opted out, some authorised users will still have access to that person’s name and address, where Waka Kotahi has determined that access is permitted in specific circumstances under the Official Information Act, as per s237(2)(d) of the LTA. As explained above, authorised users with this additional access are able to obtain names and addresses of opted out individuals directly from the Motor Vehicle Register via an online search.

In addition to the exception mentioned above, opting-out does not prevent personal information from being released through other lawful means, for example:

  • A specific Official Information Act 1982 request
  • The Privacy Act 2020
  • Other provisions in the LTA, such as section 237(2)(b).

Confidential status

Confidential status provides a higher level of protection than opting out, however it is also much harder to obtain, as there are specific requirements that must be satisfied. Unlike opting out, if someone is granted confidential status, their information can only be accessed in very limited circumstances as provided for under section 239 of the LTA. Confidential status information will not be provided to users under their section 241 access or if they have additional access to opted out or historic information.  

Who should apply for authorised access?

If you access, or need, current name and address information on the Motor Vehicle Register on a frequent and ongoing basis, you can apply for authorised access.

You don’t need an authorisation to access vehicle information, nor to confirm known name details.

Who shouldn’t apply for authorised access?

Don't apply for authorised access if you only want vehicle information (like the odometer history). Instead, you can obtain vehicle information by:

  • Completing a MR32 Request for motor vehicle details form each time. To submit a MR32 form, you will need to pay the fee, which is currently $15 (GST incl.), and requests are considered on a case by case basis; or
  • Applying for a Motochek account that will enable you to search and access vehicle information yourself.

MR32 Request for motor vehicle details form(external link)

If you only want to confirm if someone is the current registered person, try the Check registered person query online form – it’s free and returns an instant result that you can have emailed to yourself.

Check registered person query online form(external link)

If you’re a member of an industry body that has made a successful application on behalf of their members  (e.g. the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ), the Motor Trade Association (MTA), the Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association (VIA) and the Financial Services Federation (FSF)) you don’t need to make your own application unless you want access for reasons outside of the application made by the industry body.

Industry body membership(external link)

Do I already have access through my industry body membership?

You can check who already has authorised access to the Motor Vehicle Register by looking at the list on the Waka Kotahi website.

Companies and individuals with authorised access to the register(external link)

The full list of approved industry bodies who have authorised access on behalf of their members are:

  • Financial Services Federation (FSF)
  • Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association (VIA)
  • Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ)
  • Motor Trade Association (MTA)
  • National Automotive Industry Technology Association (NAITA)
  • NZ Bankers Association
  • NZ Institute of Private Investigators (NZIPI)
  • Motor Industry Association (MIA)

If you are a member of one of the above listed industry bodies, but your organisation's name doesn't appear on the current list on this website, please get in touch with your industry body as Waka Kotahi can only update the list based on information from the industry body.

Companies and individuals with authorised access to the register

Do you have standard terms for vehicle traders, fuel suppliers, finance companies and insurers?

Waka Kotahi uses standard terms for vehicle traders, fuel suppliers, finance companies and insurers. See the webpage linked to above for the standard terms.

How long will it take for my application to be processed?

Waka Kotahi generally allows up to eight weeks from the time of receiving a complete application (together with full payment) to provide you with a draft decision. This may take longer in certain circumstances, for example, where further information has been requested, your application is particularly complicated, or there are differing views as to the appropriate outcome of your application.

Once a draft decision is made and forwarded to you, you have 14 days to respond to that decision. If you agree with the draft decision, or if you have not responded within the 14 days, Waka Kotahi will then finalise its decision. If you disagree with the draft decision, we will consider your feedback before making a final decision.

How will Waka Kotahi decide whether or not to issue an authorisation?

Any applications will first be considered by a Waka Kotahi panel of regulatory and privacy specialists and then will be passed to the Ombudsman, the Privacy Commissioner and the Commissioner of Police for consultation.  The final decision on an application will usually be made by the Waka Kotahi Senior Manager Vehicle and Driver Licensing.

What can I do if I’m dissatisfied with the decision?

If you’re dissatisfied with a decision made by Waka Kotahi not to issue an authorisation under section 241, you can ask the Ombudsman to investigate that decision. You also have the option of seeking a judicial review of the decision.

What happens to a person who's granted an authorisation and doesn't comply with its conditions?

An example of non-compliance with conditions is where an authorisation is granted for a specified purpose, but the information is accessed for a different purpose.

Waka Kotahi investigates allegations of breaches of a user’s authorisation,  and if necessary will take actions to ensure future compliance.  Actions could include imposing additional conditions on an authorisation, withholding access to names and addresses until it is satisfied that they will be kept secure and used only for the specified purpose, or even cancelling the authorisation.

If the non-compliance also breaches one or more of the information privacy principles in the Privacy Act 2020, then the breach may also be reported to and dealt with by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

What about vehicle safety recalls by motor vehicle importers and manufacturers?

Where a safety recall involves a serious or imminent threat to public safety or the life or health of an individual, the information may be released under the Official Information Act without an authorisation.

Where do I send my application?

Applications and direct debit forms should be completed and sent via email to S241@nzta.govt.nz

If you do not have access to email this can be posted to:

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency
Exemption Assessments
Private Bag 11777
Palmerston North 4442

If you have any questions, please email s241@nzta.govt.nz