To operate a forklift on a public road (see the definition of a road) a forklift operator must have an F endorsement. The forklift must have a current warrant of fitness and registration, lights and indicators.
However, there is an exemption for motor vehicles used on private roads – they don’t need to be registered or have a warrant of fitness (although they still must be in good operating condition. In Part 3: Exemptions of the Land Transport (Motor Vehicle Registration and Licensing Regulations 2011, it states:
19(2) Motor vehicles used on a private road are exempt from the requirement to be registered and licensed.
19(3) For the purposes of subclause (2), private road means a road, place, or arcade laid out or formed on private land by the owner of that land.
Does a forklift have to be continually licenced?
Under the same Act, a number of motor vehicles are exempt from continuous licencing, as explained in Part 1: Motor vehicles exempt from continuous licensing requirement, clause 3 (a forklift).
In the forklift section of NZTA’s Vehicle Inspection Requirements Manual (VIRM) for In-Service Certification, it specifically states that:
A forklift that is operated on the road, ie that is registered, requires a WoF. Therefore, the vehicle inspector may inspect a forklift only if it has a registration plate attached to it.
Note: A forklift used solely on a road that is a private road is not required to be registered (so no registration plate attached), and therefore a WoF cannot and must not be issued. Private road means a road, place or arcade laid out or formed on private land by the owner of that land. A forklift operated on a private road must still be safe and, if operated at night, must be fitted with headlamps or work lamps and rear position lamps.
A forklift must comply with WoF requirements as far as is practicable for their design and type. Even if the forklift is ‘heavy’, i.e. more than 3500kg, it doesn’t require a certificate of fitness like a truck does, just a warrant of fitness.