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What vehicles can you drive on what class of licence in New Zealand?

Class 1 – car licence (learner or restricted)

A holder of a Class 1 learner or restricted licence can drive:

  • Any vehicle with a gross laden weight (GLW) or gross combined weight (GCW) of not more than 4500kg, including tractors and combination vehicles (i.e. a vehicle towing a trailer), but doesn’t include motorbikes (see class 6, below)
  • A moped or all-terrain vehicle (ATV). A moped is a motorbike of 50cc and under; an ATV is a 4-wheeled off-road bike often called a quad bike
  • A campervan, caravanette, motorhome, ute or light van with a GLW of not more than 6000kg and an on-road weight not exceeding 4500kg.

Class 1 – car licence (restricted)

A holder of a Class 1 restricted licence can also drive any agricultural trailer with a GLW of no more than 18000kg or a combination vehicle (agricultural tractor and agricultural trailer with a GCW of no more than 25000kg as long as it’s driven at a speed of less than 40kph.

Class 1 – car licence (full)

With a full licence you can drive all of the aforementioned vehicles plus:

  • any motorhome, caravanette, ute or light van with a GLW of not more than 6000kg
  • a combination vehicle of not more than 6000kg which is not a tractor/trailer or agricultural tractor/agricultural trailer
  • a forklift with a GLW of not more than 18,000kg
  • a special-type vehicle that runs on rollers or self-laying tracks and has a GLW of not more than 18,000kg
  • a special-type vehicle that runs on wheels and has a GLW of not more than 6000kg
  • a special type vehicle that runs on wheels and has a GLW of more than 6000kg but not more than 18,000kg, if driven at a speed not exceeding 40km/h, in the case of a special-type vehicle that is an agricultural motor vehicle; or 30km/h, in the case of any other special type vehicle
  • a tractor with a GLW of more than 6000kg but not more than 18,000kg, if driven at a speed not exceeding 40km/h, in the case of an agricultural tractor or 30km/h, in the case of any other tractor
  • a combination vehicle with a GCW of not more than 25,000kg, if driven at a speed not exceeding 40km/h, in the case of an agricultural tractor towing an agricultural trailer or 30km/h, in the case of any other tractor towing a trailer, if it is being used in non-agricultural land management operations
  • an agricultural tractor with a GLW of more than 6000 kg but not more than 18,000 kg, or a combination vehicle (consisting of an agricultural tractor and agricultural trailer) with a GCW of not more than 25,000 kg, if the driver holds a special-type vehicle endorsement.

Class 2 – medium rigid vehicle (learner or restricted)

On a class 2 learner or full licence you can drive:

  • a rigid vehicle with a GLW of more than 6000kg but not more than 18,000kg
  • a combination vehicle (that is not a tractor/trailer combination) with a GCW of 12,000kg or less
  • a combination vehicle consisting of a rigid vehicle (that is not a tractor) with a GLW of not more than 18,000kg towing a light trailer
  • a rigid vehicle with a GLW of more than 18,000kg that has no more than two axles
  • a tractor with a GLW of more than 6000kg but not more than 18,000kg if driven at speed exceeding 30km/h
  • any vehicle covered in Class 1.

Class 2 – medium rigid vehicle (full)

The holder of a full Class 2 can also drive a special type vehicle that is an agricultural motor vehicle that runs on wheels with a GLW of more than 6000kg but not more than 18,000kg, if driven at a speed not exceeding 40km/h (with or without a W endorsement).

Class 3 – medium combination (learner or full)

A holder of a Class 3 learner or full licence can drive:

  • a combination vehicle with a GCW of more than 12,000kg but not more than 25,000kg
  • any vehicle covered in classes 1 and 2.

Class 4 – heavy rigid (learner or full)

A holder of a Class 4 learner or full licence can drive:

  • a rigid vehicle (including any tractor) with a GLW of more than 18,000kg
  • a combination vehicle consisting of a rigid vehicle with a GLW of more than 18,000kg towing a light trailer
  • vehicles covered in classes 1 and 2, but not Class 3.

Class 5 – heavy combination (learner or full)

A holder of a Class 5 learner or full licence can drive:

  • a combination vehicle with a GCW of more than 25,000kg
  • vehicles covered by classes 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Class 6 – Motorcycle licence

You can ride any motorcycle that is LAMS-approved (while you are learning), or a motorbike of any size once you have your full licence, plus a moped or all-terrain vehicle

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

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