New Zealand Driver Licence 1 – 5 and Qualifications, Training, Job Earning

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Driver Licence Classes in New Zealand

In New Zealand, there are six main classes of driving licence issued by New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA). The driver licence system is an accredited system enforced in 1988. Few licences consist of phases with changing levels of conditions, including car licence. These phases include tests (theory or practical) and successful candidate is given an authorised temporary paper licence until permanent licence is directly posted.

NZTA issues six main classes of driving licences, including:

  • Class 1: Car Licence
  • Class 2: Medium Rigid Vehicle Licence
  • Class 3: Medium Combination Vehicle Licence
  • Class 4: Heavy Rigid Vehicle Licence
  • Class 5: Heavy Combination Vehicle Licence
  • Class 6: Motorcycle Licence

Class 1 and Class 6 are achievable when the individual is 16 years and over. However, there are three levels; including learner (L), restricted (R) and full licence. Each level progression has a specific time period.

Class 2 to Class 5 licences are only achievable if the individual has full Class 1 licence and comprise of two levels: Missing out and Restricted Licence.

What does each Class represent?

NZTA has a fine set of rules that needs to be followed for owning respective class licences. These include type of vehicles with respect to their weight and maximum speed limit. Following table gives detailed class coverage


Licence Class Type of automobile Maximum Weight Maximum Speed
Class 1L/1R Vehicle GCW/GLW less than 4500 kg
Terrain vehicles
mobile home, tradesperson vehicle GLW less than 6000 kg with on road weight less than 4500kg
Class 1R Farming tractor towing farming trailer GCW less than 25000kg


Less than 40km/h
Farming tractor GLW less than 18000kg
Class 1 Moped or terrain automobile  


Any automobile GCW/GLW less than 6000kg
Combination automobile which is not tractor/farming tractor/trailer GCW less than 6000kg




Mobile Home/tradesperson vehicle GLW less than 6000kg



Tractor GLW 6001 to 18,000kg Less than 30km/h
Farming Tractor GLW 6001 to 18,000kg Less than 40km/h
Farming tractor towing farming trailer


GCW less than 25,000kg Less than 40km/h
Class 2 Rigid Vehicle GLW 6001kg to 18,000kg
Combination vehicle (not farming tractor/trailer) GCW Less than 12,000kg
Rigid Vehicle (not a tractor) towing light trailer CLW of rigid vehicle less than 18,000kg
Rigid vehicle less or with two axles GLW 18,000kg and over


Any automobile in Class 1

GLW 6001kg to 18,000kg Less than 30km/h
Class 3 Any automobile in Class 1 and Class 2
Combination Vehicle GCW 12,001 kg to 25,000kg
Class 4 Any automobile in Class1,2 but not 3
Rigid vehicle towing light trailer GLW of rigid vehicle over 18,000kg
Rigid vehicle (including a tractor) GLW above 18,000 kg
Class 5 Automobiles in Class 1,2,3,4  



Combination vehicles GCW over 25,000kg
Class 6 Any motorcycle, moped or terrain automobile

GCW: Gross Combined Weight, GLW: Gross Laden Weight

Obtaining Heavy Vehicle Licenses: Class 2 to Class 5


The main role of NZTA and governing agencies is to ensure people鈥檚 safety. This includes assuring that people who drive on the road have specific knowledge and skills in order and are safe drivers. Obtaining driver licenses for any kind of vehicle gives a privilege to the people that they are safety conscious and abide rules and regulations.

Here is a general representation for obtaining licence:

NZ Driver License

Step 1: Completing Documentation

General Requirements for Class 2 to Class 5 Application

Before applying for any heavy vehicle class licence, you must keep an eye on the essential documentations required by NZTA. These are enlisted as follows:

Requirement Explanation
Proof of Identity

(Original, Scanned/Photocopied are unacceptable)

路         Current NZ passport OR

路         New Zealand photo driver licence, either current or expired within last two years OR

路         Two from each of the following (one must be photographic):

Primary Documents Supporting Documents
路         NZ passport (current or expired up to two years)

路         Overseas passport (current or expired up to two years)

路         Emergency NZ travel document

路         Refugee NZ travel document

路         NZ firearms licence (current or expired up to two years)

路         NZ certificate of identity (issued under Passports Act 1992 OR Immigration Act 1987)

路         NZ full birth certificate issued on OR after 1st January 1998

路         NZ citizenship certificate


路         Kiwi Access card OR 18+ card

路         SuperGold card

路         Community Services Card

路         NZ student photo ID card

路         Veteran SuperGold Card

路         NZ electoral roll card

路         NZ employee photo ID card

路         Inland Revenue (IRD) Number

路         Overseas Driver Licence

路         Steps to freedom form

路         NZ issued bank statement or utility bill (issued within 6 months, showing First, Last name, utility company OR bank)

Name Change Evidence If your required name on the driver licence is dissimilar from name on driver licence register OR two forms of identification, any document from the following should be presented:

路         Civil union certificate OR marriage certificate

路         Civil Union order or dissolution of marriage certificate

路         Statutory declaration issued Births, by Marriages and deaths affirming name change

路         Annulment certificate

Eyesight Requirement Eyesight must satisfy the required standard for applying for a new  OR renewing licence classes/endorsements through:

路         Presenting a medical certificate OR satisfactory eyesight certificate (no more than 60 days old)

路         Passing eyesight screening test at driver licensing representative

Medical Declaration You need to declare medical condition on the form if you have:

路         Diabetes

路         High blood pressure

路         Visual disturbances (Glaucoma/cataracts/double vision)

路         Limb/joint problem

路         Mental/nervous disorder

路         Stroke

路         Spinal/head or any other serious injury

路         Fits/seizures/epilepsy

路         Any other serious condition that can impact driving

Medical Certificates

(MUST be original, issued by NZ practitioner, no more than 60 days old, clearly states conditions under which you can drive)

If you are in any one or more condition(s), you need to present a medical certificate:

路         Have a medical condition negatively effecting your ability to drive

路         Applying/renewing endorsements (P,V,O,I) OR licence class2 to 5 and have not presented a medical certificate in the last 5 years

路         Renewing licence after 75th birthday

路         75 years or over and applying for different licence class

路         Requested by NZTA

Organ Donation Driver licence card cannot be created unless you tick Yes OR No for the following question: 鈥淲ould you be willing to donate organs in the event of your death鈥.



Step 2: Submitting Fees

Fee Structure and Stages of Class 2 to Class 5 Licences:

Class 2 to Class 5 represents the four heavy vehicle driver licences. Once you have fulfilled the general requirements, which mainly include your documentation you can precede towards obtaining the licences. Generally, to obtain licences from Class 2 to Class 5, two stages needs to be passed, including: Learner Licence and Full Licence, explained as follows:

1.      Learner Stage:

You must own a separate class of licence for a specific amount of time before registering into a heavy vehicle learner licence. For example, for obtaining Class 2 Learner licence, you need to have New Zealand鈥檚 Class 1 Full licence for at least 6 months.

Fee Structure:

Fee structure of learner鈥檚 licence is as follows (includes GST and non-refundable):

Type of Test/Application (per class)


Amount (in NZD)
Full Licence Application $49.60
Full Licence Practical Test $59.90
Total Amount $109.50


2.      Full Licence Stage:

For Class 2 to 5 full licences, you must own learner鈥檚 licence of the respective class for at least six months or have an endorsed completion of heavy vehicle driving course.

Fee Structure:

Fee structure of full licence is as follows (includes GST and non-refundable):

Type of Test/Application (per class)


Amount (in NZD)
Full Licence Application $48,20
Full Licence Theory Test $45.70
Total Amount $93.90



Step 3: Obtaining Licences by Class Type

Getting hold of Licences: Ins and Outs for Class2 to Class 5 (Heavy Vehicles)

For obtaining or renewing driver licences in New Zealand, NZTA advice to go to authorised driver licensing agents. These include:

  • The Automobile Association (AA)
  • Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ)

For driving heavy motor vehicles, you firstly need to identify the type of vehicle you want to drive according to the weight. You need to have an experience in driving Class 1 vehicles or lighter vehicles and then proceed towards heavy vehicles through passing theory and practical tests or finishing relevant courses successfully.

Class 2 Licence:

Here is a summary for obtaining Class 2 Learner鈥檚 and Full Licences:

Class 2 Driver License


Class 3 Licence:

Class 3 Learner鈥檚 and Full Licences can be obtained as follows:


Class 3 Driver License




Class 4:

Here is a summary for obtaining Class 4 Learner鈥檚 and Full Licences:


Class 4 Driver License


Class 5:

Class 5 Licences can be acquired as follows:

Class 5 Driver License



Learning how to drive heavy vehicles

Learner Theory Test

In general, learner theory test are designed for knowing the general set of road rules. This knowledge is necessary to become a harmless driver. Driver licensing agencies conduct these tests. It is a computerised theory test whose questions comprise of general safety practices, road hazards and road regulations. It is important to study New Zealand Road Code for heavy vehicle drivers for gaining knowledge about road codes. In order to succeed, 33 out of 35 questions need to be correctly answered. On passing the test, temporary learner licence for 21 days is given by the authorities that can be used until photo driver licence is issued through mail. For convenience of people, NZTA offers this test in numerous languages, including Maori, Tongan, Samoan, Chinese, Arabic and others (listed in NZTA website).

Conditions of Learner鈥檚 Licence:

  • Carry your licence all the time when you drive
  • You must be supervised by a supervisor sitting in the front passenger seat. Supervisor must have NZ full licence for at least two years
  • Zero alcohol limit applies, higher alcohol level can lead to disqualification

Full Licence Test

Full licence test can be given when you have learner鈥檚 licence for at least six months or have concluded heavy vehicle driving course. You need to book a full licence test in advance through the NZTA driving licensing agents, either online, phone call or in-person. After booking the test you will be provided step by step guidance about the test. It鈥檚 basically a practical test from what you learnt in the theory test monitored by an authorised official from the driving agency. He observes and marks your test according to your driving.

Approved Courses

Each class of heavy class has its corresponding approved course offered by the approved course providers. They are called approved as they are associated with standards equivalent to New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). On successful completion of the course, you can earn standard unit and earn a national certificate and driver licence. For Class 2 to Class 5 approved courses, you don鈥檛 need to wait six months time period after obtaining learner鈥檚 licence, as you can straightaway register with the course and you are exempted from giving a practical test. The NZTA website enlists the approved course providers with respect to the regions. You can always check your nearby institution. These institutions not only provide help with heavy class licences, but also help with endorsements, including:

  • Driving Instructor (I)
  • Forklift (F)
  • Vehicle recovery Service (V)
  • Testing Officer (O)
  • Dangerous Goods (D)
  • vehicles that run on wheels (W) (vehicles that aren’t forklifts, passenger vehicles, tractors, fire engines, trade vehicles or vehicle recovery service vehicles)
  • Vehicles that run on tracks (T)
  • Vehicles that run on rollers (R)

What do these courses offer?

Approved courses have a lot to offer, but here is the standard average fee structure and duration for Class 2 to Class 5 in New Zealand:

Heavy Class Licence Average Fee (in $NZ)
Class 2 $650-$950
Class 3/4 $800-$1050
Class 5 $850-$1100


If you are interested in obtaining heavy vehicle licence you just need to register with the approved institution having Full Class 1 Licence. Every institute may have three packages, including: Basic, Advanced and Premium. You can choose whichever best suits you financially. These packages can be divided on the criteria of training schedule, extra help from the instructors, pre-course study material and recommendations from Safe Driver instructor and duration. On average, time duration for every course is between 3 to 5 days. They offer courses and training for:

  • Using logbooks and work time logbook study guide
  • Fatigue management
  • Operating rigid vehicles, with respect to licence class
  • Practical assessments
  • Manual/automatic truck for training assessments
  • Health and safety
  • Vehicle operations
  • Navigation and communication
  • Safe driving skills
  • Certification on successful completion which can be taken to licensing agency for licence amendments/issuance




Qualifications and Training Programs for Logistic and Transport Industry in NZ


If you are thinking of starting a career in New Zealand鈥檚 logistic and transport industry, it is a must to attain some qualification or experience a professional training. There are numerous institutes that provide industrial trainings, including Mito. These qualifications incorporate basic needs and standards set by automotive, logistics and transport industries.

NZ Certificate in Commercial Road Transport Skills (Level 3)

Total Duration: 20 weeks Fees:  Domestic students: Free until 2022

The certificate is designed for heavy vehicle operators who want to secure a job in the logistic and trucking industry. It can also help to gain Class 4 and Class 5 licences. As the logistic industry of New Zealand is short of Class 5 drivers, who can operate and manage trailer units and trucks, the certificate can help to gain a job. Positive job success rate is very high after getting this certification.

Registration requirements:

  • New Zealand Class 2 licence for at least 3 months
  • Must know how to handle/drive manual vehicle
  • Medical certificate (not older than 60 days)
  • Passing interview by authorities
  • Basic English and Mathematics school subjects are must.
  • Passing Literacy and numerical skills assessments; first one is conducted within first three weeks and second a week before finishing

Registration Process:

  • Search for suitable programme online
  • Use RealMe verified identity for applying. If you don鈥檛 use RealMe, you will be asked to sign and verify summary of your registration
  • Submit full fees before programme commencement. New Zealand government has fees-free schemes for tertiary qualifications, which can be checked through National Student Number (NSN). If you are not eligible, you need to pay full fees. However, grants and scholarships are also available which can help to cover your fee or you can apply for a student loan on the authorised NZ government websites.

What you can learn?

Here are the perks that the certification holds for you:

  • On-hand heavy vehicle driving on road
  • Knowledge of rules and regulations on road
  • Health and safety management
  • Risk and hazard management
  • Navigation, communication and safe driving skills
  • Specialised operations for vehicles
  • Fatigue management
  • Loading and unloading trucks
  • Technological training for vehicle technology on rigid vehicles
  • Commercial Road transport legislation
  • Operator skills for learning professional behaviour and skills at a workplace
  • Safety checks on a heavy vehicle


Micro credentials

Micro credentials are small scale individual formal qualification that identifies achievement if specific set of skills and knowledge. They are for people who want targeted experience, skills and knowledge. In logistics industry, there are many micro credentials that are offered:

1.      Introduction to Commercial Road Transport (Level 3):

Duration: 4 months Fees: Free for domestic students until December 2021

People who have left secondary school and opted working in road transport industry can take this micro credential. It is approved by the NZQA and can be completed through eLearning.

Registration Requirements:    

  • Enrolment at industry training industry of New Zealand, for example: MITO

What will you learn?

  • Basic knowledge about New Zealand commercial road transport industry
  • Maintaining positive customer attitude and professionalism in road transport and logistics industry
  • Primary systems of vehicles and documentations
  • Accountabilities and liabilities for transportation of goods through road/logistics
  • Documentations used in logistic industry

2.      Commercial Road Transport- Driver Safety (Level 4)

Duration: 4 weeks Fees: Free until 31 December 2021

This micro credential is designed for operators and employees in commercial road transport. It is NZQA certified and focuses health and fatigue management. It can also be completed through eLearning.

Registration Requirements:    

  • Enrolment at industry training industry of New Zealand, for example: MITO

What will you learn?

  • How does fatigue and health effects road performance
  • Causes of fatigue
  • Taking and maintaining a healthy diet plan and staying hydrated
  • Side effects and impact of alcohol and drugs in commercial road transport driver
  • Injury management
  • Safety precautions for night driving
  • Preparing vehicles for night driving and long routes
  • Possible night driving hazards and how to tackle them
  • Devices and gadgets that help in night driving


3.      Commercial Road Transport-Mass and Dimensions (Level 3)

Duration: 4 weeks Fees: Free until 31 December 2021

It is for owner operators and employees for providing basic knowledge about vehicle dimensions, mass and high productivity motor vehicle permits for drivers. It is NZQA certified and focuses health and fatigue management. It can also be completed through eLearning.

Registration Requirements:    

  • Enrolment at industry training industry of New Zealand, for example: MITO

What will you learn?

  • Understanding of High Productivity Motor Vehicle (HPMV) permits
  • How to operate with HPMV for general access mass and dimension limit
  • Operating aligning with HPMV permits


4.      Commercial Road Transport- Heavy Combination Vehicle Loading Fundamentals (Level 3):

Duration: 4 weeks Fees: Free until 31 December 2021

The micro credential endows people with heavy combination vehicle dynamics, loading principles and processes and safety in driving. It is NZQA certified and focuses health and fatigue management. It can also be completed through eLearning.

Registration Requirements:    

  • Enrolment at industry training industry of New Zealand, for example: MITO

What will you learn?

  • Legal obligations for loading, weight division, load positioning and load restraint
  • Legal penalties and fines for noncompliance for vehicle and load
  • Safety processes for loading and unloading
  • Documentation requirement for delivered load
  • Familiarity with heavy combination vehicle dynamics for safe driving
  • Outcome on loads on heavy combination vehicle dynamics
  • Safety heavy combination vehicle driving



Benefits of obtaining New Zealand鈥檚 Class Licenses and qualifications for Trucking and Logistic industry: Are you driven to succeed?


Earning Potential:

In New Zealand, the average yearly salary for truck driver is between $40,000 and $69,000 or even higher. However, it totally depends on number of hours worked and type of vehicle used. If you are self employed, you can even earn higher than rest of the industry. All you need is driver licence; a good certification can be an advantage and a truck which you can hire and you are good to go.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) provided a projection for trucking industry that it will continue to grow in the coming years due to shortage of skilled drivers. During 2013, number of truck drivers decreased; however, by 2028 it is expected to grow on a large scale, more than 1.5% every year. The average age of drivers is also projected to increase as young drivers are taking interest in road, logistics and heavy vehicle driving. Survey by MBIE also shows that freight transport industry employs over 2% of the total workforce and is expected to grow in the coming years. The earning potential in this industry is increasing day by day as road freight is the only way in New Zealand that help primary producers to expand their businesses and bring their products to the market. In addition, infrastructure industry, postages, commercial businesses all rely on trucking industry.

Earning by experience level for Heavy Truck Drivers:

The level of earnings increases with the experience in the industry. Here is the division of salaries with respect to experience:

  • 1 to 4 years:   24 NZD
  • 5 to 9 years: 24.90NZD
  • 10 to 19 years: 26 NZD
  • 20+ years: 27 NZD

These figure are on average scale, which means that they may increase/decrease by a minimal value.

Road and Logistic Industry Survey of NZ in 2020:

The survey conducted by Statistics New Zealand in February 2020 shows the following facts and figures about varying factors:

Number of people working in the sector:

The total number of people working in the industry for 2020 was 53,919 which makes up 2.1% of the workforce. The projection from 2021 to 2026 shows that there will be 1.8% increases yearly in the near future.

Area wise Coverage:

The number of people working in the industry according to the regions reveals the following figures:

  • Auckland: 16,808
  • Bay of Plenty: 4,018
  • Waikato: 5,883
  • Wellington: 3,463
  • Canterbury: 7,953
  • Rest of North Island: 9,008
  • Rest of South Island: 6,786


Following table shows earning according to the area:

Area Coverage Reference

 Top 5 Occupations in the industry:

The top jobs out of total 35,919 jobs for commeHi rcial road transport in New Zealand in year 2020 are as follows:

  1. General Truck driver: 29,641 jobs
  2. Laborers: 2,319 jobs
  3. Tanker driver: 1,678 jobs
  4. Delivery Driver: 1,168 jobs
  5. Store person: 1,113 jobs

Economic Contribution 2020:

For the year 2020, commercial road transport industry which includes logistics and freight in New Zealand contributed a total of $6,003 million which makes up a total of 1.9% of New Zealand鈥檚 GDP. Previously, for the years 2015 to 2020 the total percentage of economic contribution increased to 2.5%, which is a promising figure for the future as well.

Number of self employed people in the industry:

The survey shows that a total of 7,898 people are self employed in the industry, which is 14.6% of self-employment rate. The number is projected to increase in the current pandemic era as people are in need of finances. As it can provide a steady income, people are more likely to set up their self employment business.


How can we help you for being a truckie?

We at Oneclick Truck can help you in growing your career as a truckie. As survey shows a hopeful future for trucking business and shortage of heavy truck drivers in New Zealand, you can expand your skills on a broader platform through using our services.

Use of technology: save your time for finding the perfect fit/trip:


We slot in technological advancements for your convenience and retain our competitive edge. Our software is user friendly and can be used on many platforms: mobile, laptop, and computers. By using our broker software and platform, we can help for driving your business on the road to success. You can work as your own technical operator for finding the perfect fit. Our load board can help you to associate with the shippers and earn revenue through placing a profitable bid. By means of our services, you can take control of your route and hours you want to drive.

Suitable for newbie truckers:

Once you acquire your heavy vehicle driving license, you can join us free of cost. Our services are favorable for truckers who are just getting started in the industry and are newbie. As a newbie, you might not have any direct contact with the shippers; hence, our website/app can help you for getting loads.

Build your market value:

You can instantly put up an offer on loads that come into your feed. You can know the market demand and choose route wisely and get paid with complete assurance. If you have a certain preference for distance, weight for load, dates and price, you can select your favorable conditions through filter search for the best appropriate match. As you get familiar with our technology, you can adjust your profile accordingly for finding the best job as soon as possible. By working with reliable partners you get benefit in the longer run through building a network of your own.

Return on Investment/Instant income:

When you are investing your time in oneclicktruck, you are not just making use of complete technology, but you are also joining services that can help you to find best available rates for growing in trucking industry.

Take advantage of seasonal New Zealand routes

The peak time for truck drivers in New Zealand is between September to February. As spring approaches, driving conditions also improves and many industries including forestry and agriculture depend upon trucking for constant supply chain. You can decide your route with our app/website and maximize your profits and earnings in this season.


Adjust your freight rates

If you want maximum return on investment and cash flows, you need to negotiate with shippers smartly. Empty load on any route can be proven disastrous for your business, so you need to calculate some items beforehand. These include cost per mile calculation which will tell you how much will it cost to travel on a specific route. You need to have knowledge about loads-to-trucks ration, spot rates and observe that whether you are given a fair market rate. Your communication with the shipper and rate identification is easy through our services and therefore you can take full advantage for capitalizing on your return on investment.

Put a boundary to deadhead miles

Your revenue can be increased if you limit down the deadhead route. Some deadhead miles are unavoidable in a certain load route, but you can always plan ahead by means of our software. You can take advantage through observing the route and schedule uninterrupted loads with the second pickup nearby to the first delivery.

Job safety: Be stress free for job in Covid-19 time

Globally, Covid-19 has impacted businesses, jobs and lives of people. New Zealand, especially Auckland is deeply affected by Covid-19 with lockdown in place. People lost their jobs as businesses suffered and were at loss. However, government of New Zealand included freight and logistics industry in the list of essential industries for running the economy. As a result, need of truck operators also increased as consumer behavior and mode of running a business changed. This includes contactless deliveries or home deliveries. These reasons have paved a path for truck drivers to enhance their profits. Our services can endow you with providing best routes according to your budget as need of meeting the demands of supply chain is increasing. You can increase your 鈥渓oaded鈥 mileage through ensure that your truck is always fully loaded. You can be tension free from getting a trucking job in the present Covid-19 era as demand for freight management is constantly increasing. However, not only you should increase your business, but it is also better to stay safe by following rules and regulations in Covid-19 workplace protocols for road freight transport industry in August, 2021 issued by Road Transport Forum NZ (RTF).


heavy vehicle