New Zealand Road User Charge (RUC) system is one of a kind in the world. It can be difficult to grasp, especially when you have a large varied fleet. With this mind, we've written up a FAQ page, to help you get your head around the law.
Q: What are Road User Charges?
A: The upkeep of roads in New Zealand is partially funded by fuel levies or, in the case of some vehicle types, a road user charge (RUC). This charge is based on distance travelled. Eligible vehicles need to display a RUC licence, sold in multiples of 1000 km units, as proof of payment. If a fleet uses private roads such as those in construction, forestry or agriculture, they can apply for a refund on this portion of the licence.
Q: Who needs a RUC licence?
A: RUC Licence fees are based on multiple factors. The first is gross vehicle mass (GVM), which is the manufacturer’s determination of the maximum operating weight, including not just the vehicle itself, but fuel, occupants and anything it’s carrying. Any vehicle with a GVM above 3.5 tonnes needs to pay a RUC. The rate varies depending on weight, the number of axles and tyres per axle.
For vehicles under 3.5 tonnes the decision is based on fuel type. Light diesel vehicles need a RUC but petrol, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) are already taxed at the pump so don’t attract an additional charge. Operating without the required licence, or distance recording technology to support your claims, attract fines of up to $3000 for individuals and $15,000 for organisations.
Q: Are there any exemptions?
A: Electric cars powered at least partially from an external source don’t have to pay a RUC. Other vehicles that are not designed for regular road use – including some used in construction, forestry, industry and agriculture – are also exempt.
Q: How often do I need to buy a licence?
A: RUC Licences are sold in multiples of 1000 km units and operators buy ahead according to their expected usage. It then becomes a balance between not overspending and leaving yourself vulnerable to fines.
Q: Do I need to track the distance I travelled?
A: Yes. For light vehicles, the dashboard odometer is adequate, but heavy vehicles need to use a distance recorder such as the increasingly old-fashioned hubodometer, which reads the kilometres travels according tyre size, or an approved electronic distance recorder to keep track it.
Q: If I have a hubodometer or distance recorder, is that all I need to meet my compliance obligations?
A: There are a host of other records that need to be kept on for heavy vehicle with a RUC licence, including logbooks, permits, maintenance schedules and fuel use. If you can’t produce these records when asked, you may be fined up to $25,000 for an individual and up to $100,000 for organisations.
Q: Is there a way I can streamline my RUC compliance?
A: Yes, RUC Manager is an NZTA-recognized eRUC solution.
Q: If off-road vehicles are exempt, what happens when my fleet operates both on and off road?
A: Your licence only needs to cover the vehicle while it’s on the road, so if your fleet is used in construction, forestry or agriculture, your distance tracker will record kilometres that unnecessarily eat into your licence fees. You can apply for a refund on this portion of your licence.
RUC Manager automatically manages all of this for you. It identifies off-road activity and apportions this to prepared RUC claims for off-road refunds. You have full control and visibility over these claims and can review them before that are submitted to the NZTA. Claims are automatically prepared for each RUC license using an official electronic NZTA claim form that is emailed directly to the NZTA from within RUC Manager.
Q: How much does RUC Manager cost?
A: RUC Manager pricing is provided upon request and depends on the number of vehicles you wish to connect.
Q: Can I buy RUC licenses when I am roadside?
A: Yes, you can buy RUC licenses manually with a mobile device at any time.
Q: Can I use RUC Manager to make off-road claims?
A: Yes, RUC Manager automatically calculates and prepares off-road claims, which can be reviewed and approved and can then be emailed directly to the NZTA.
Q: How do I know the NZTA recognizes RUC Manager tickets as legitimate?
A: RUC Manager is officially tested and authorized by the NZTA. Teletrac Navman is an official eRUC provider and is listed here on the NZTA website: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicles/licensing-rego/road-user-charges/ruc-distance-recorders/
Q: What distance before a license runs out does RUC Manager buy the next one?
A: With 250km to go on the existing license.
Q: When do I pay for that license (see previous question)?
A: Same day (overnight with direct debit).
Q: Is there an option to be billed monthly?
Q: Can I set the number of units that are purchased per truck or is it a fleet setting?
A: Per truck. Fleet settings will be offered in a later release.
Q: Do I need to calibrate the unit for the different tyre sizes in my fleet?
A: No, that is handled automatically by the GPS tracking unit.