There are a few differences with buying vehicles than in the UK and it’s a pretty easy task, but with a few more steps.
Warrant of Fitness (WOF)
Vehicles in New Zealand must have a WOF. These are similar to Brits MOT, but less stringent. Typically these last for either 3 or 6 months, although on newer vehicles this is 12 months. A valid WOF does not mean the vehicle is in good running order, it just checks that it is “safe”. When you buy a vehicle, the WOF should have been completed within one month of the sale.
For further details check out New Zealand Transport Agency website on the subject.
Pre Purchase Assessment (PPA)
A PPA will give you a long check list with pass or fail against them and an explanation of the findings at the bottom. You can also then have a chat with the technician for further information. With this information you are better prepared when deciding to take a risk on a vehicle. Although this sort of thing can be done by a local garage, they will have a vested interest in finding problems that they then charge to fix. Thankfully there are a number of independent businesses who do PPA checks, but don’t offer any mechanics services. These are The AA, VTNZ and VINZ.
Change of Ownership
Once you decide you want the vehicle, you need to register it in your name. This is done at any Post Shop branch, along with the following options. To register a change of ownership you simply fill in one form with your personal details and the vehicles make model and registration plate. Interestingly, the seller is not required in this process in any way! You get a ticket confirming the change in ownership.
Vehicle Registration (Rego)
A Rego is like the UK’s Tax Disc. Rego’s are valid for between 3-12 months, and you can choose how many months you want to buy the rego for. Buying a new rego is done at the Post Shop, by simply filling in a form and handing over the appropriate amount of money. You then receive a ticket which is displayed on the front windscreen.
Road User Charges (RUC’s)
If the vehicle you are buying is a diesel, you will also need to purchase RUC’s. At the pump, diesel is far cheaper than petrol, but when taking into account buying RUC’s they come out at roughly the same price. These are bought in increments of 1000km, again at the Post Shop. Your milometer must read under the “max” reading on the RUC’s ticket – which is displayed alongside the vehicle’s rego.
Certificate of Self-Containment
If you are going down the self contained route, you will need to make sure that the vehicle you are buying is registered. A certificate lasts for four years from its inspection. All vehicles will have a sticker on the windscreen displaying this date. With the rules on self containment becoming more stringent, many vehicles have “fake” stickers. You can check a vehicle self containment status online.
And that’s it. The forms take less than five minutes to fill in, and in our experience, the Post Shop staff are friendly and helpful should you need it.