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Trade plates for uncertified vehicles

In limited cases, you can use trade plates to drive a vehicle that is uncertified and unregistered.

Trade plates let you drive a vehicle to and from testing stations, specialist repairers and garages in order to bring it up to the appropriate standard. Vehicle repairers can also use trade plates on a registered but unlicensed vehicle that doesn't have a warrant of fitness or certificate of fitness, where the vehicle can't be licensed until the repairs are completed.

Staying within the law

You must have a valid trade plate fitted to the vehicle.

Also, you have to be driving the vehicle for one of these reasons, which must be within the purpose you were granted the trade plates:

  • demonstration of the vehicle

  • delivery of the vehicle

  • completion of construction of the vehicle

  • repair or modification of the vehicle

  • road testing in connection with inspection and certification of the vehicle

  • evaluation or testing of the vehicle.

Before you drive the vehicle you must also:

You can only drive the vehicle to or from one of the addresses listed on your conditional permit.

Conditional permits

You need to complete a conditional permit before driving vehicles not certified for use on the road. You complete the permit, sign it and date it yourself and then keep it with you to hand over if you're stopped by the NZ Police or one of our compliance officers.

The permit consists of:

  • annex A(external link) – you list where you can drive the vehicle

  • annex B(external link) – your promise that you've carried out the safety check and that you'll only drive the vehicle for the purpose you're allowed to drive.

You need to complete annex A and B if you're driving the vehicle no more than 50km from your business premises. If you want to drive a light vehicle further, you must tow or transport it or get it certified.

If you're planning to drive a heavy vehicle (over 3500kg gross laden weight) more than 50km from your business premises you need to visit one of our Heavy Vehicle CoF B Inspection Sites. The agent will inspect the vehicle and issue an annex C form.

Safety checks

You must:

  • carry out a safety check on the vehicle before it's driven anywhere – use the check sheets linked below

  • transport or tow the vehicle everywhere if it doesn't pass

  • sign the safety check form if the vehicle passes

  • keep the safety check form in the vehicle.

Signing the safety check form makes you responsible for the vehicle's condition. If you don't have enough experience and skill to carry out the safety check, we strongly recommend you use someone who does.