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Communtity Law Manual | Driving & traffic law | General driving offences

General driving offences

Licences and related offences

COVID-19 rules affecting overseas licences

Land Transport (Driver Licensing) (COVID-19—Temporary Extension of Deemed Licences) Amendment Rule 2020

People who are unable to leave New Zealand due to COVID-19 border closures can continue to use their overseas licence. The rule that drivers on overseas licences can drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months has been extended to 24 months from their arrival in New Zealand. This extension ends 31 March 2022.

Driving without a licence or breaching licence conditions

Land Transport Act 1998, ss 5(1)(a), (b), 31; Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999, Schedule 1

To drive a vehicle on the road you must have a current licence that’s appropriate for you and your vehicle. It’s an offence to drive with an expired licence, or to drive without the appropriate type (for example, if your licence doesn’t cover your type of vehicle), or to breach the conditions of your licence. You can be given an infringement notice (a ticket) for $400 – or you can be fined up to $1,000 if you’re prosecuted and convicted through the courts.

Driving while disqualified or suspended

Land Transport Act 1998, ss 5(1)(c), 32

It’s a criminal offence to drive while you’re disqualified or while your licence is suspended or revoked, or to breach the terms of a limited licence, alcohol interlock licence or zero alcohol licence.

On your first or second conviction, you can be jailed for up to three months or fined up to $4,500, and you’ll also be disqualified for at least six months. For your third or later conviction, you can be jailed for up to two years or fined up to $6,000, and you’ll be disqualified for at least one year.

Not producing your licence for the police

Land Transport Act 1998, ss 5(4), 31; Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999, Schedule 1

If the police stop you while you’re driving, you must show them your licence straight away. If you don’t, they can give you a $55 infringement notice on the spot, or if you’re prosecuted and convicted through the courts you can be fined up to $1,000.

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