Driving tests

Can you transfer an Australian truck licence to a New Zealand truck licence?

If you have a full Australian truck licence you can convert it to an equivalent New Zealand licence.

  • MR (medium rigid) can be converted to class 2.
  • HR (heavy rigid) can be converted to class 4
  • Combination vehicle licences (HC heavy combination and MC multi-combination) can be converted to a class 5.

The minimum age to convert a heavy vehicle licence from Australia to New Zealand is 18 for a learner or full licence.

What tests do you need to take to convert an Australian licence?

You will need to take a heavy vehicle theory test (practice it here).

For MR and HR licences, do all the modules except the class 3-5, then take the random 35-question tests until you get 100% consistently.

For HC and MC licences, do all the modules including class 2 and class 3-5, then take the random 35-question tests until you get 100% consistently.

Then you can go to VTNZ/AA and take the test.

You must have held your full heavy vehicle licence in Australia for at least two years, otherwise you will need to take a practical test, too.

What about logbooks?

Heavy vehicle drivers must keep logbooks to track work and rest time. You don’t need to do unit standard 24089. The easiest way is to take an online logbook course.

What about load security rules

Some load security rules are different, but New Zealand mostly follows Australian guidance. The load security rules are outlined in the Truck Loading Code. The quickest way to understand this is this load security course.

What about forklift licences?

Read this article about driving a forklift in New Zealand on your Australian high-risk work licence and options for converting to a New Zealand forklift operator’s certificate.

What about endorsements for dangerous goods, vehicle recovery, etc?

There are a number of endorsements which cannot be directly transferred to your New Zealand licence, including D (dangerous goods) endorsement, V endorsement, F endorsement and P endorsement.

These endorsements will improve your employment options as a truck driver.

What about machinery such as loaders and bulldozers?

If you want to drive these on the road you will need a wheels, tracks and/or rollers endorsement (W, T and/or R). They are usually done as one set.

If you are only operating the equipment in areas not considered to be roads, you can do competency training and/or assessment instead. Most civil engineering companies will have a process for this.

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Darren is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and the NZ Motoring Writers' Guild

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