How we define motor vehicle

We have a different definition of motor vehicle from the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and the Land Transport Act (which the NZTA administers).

What is considered a motor vehicle

A ‘motor vehicle’ is defined in the Motor Vehicle Sales Act as a road vehicle that is:

  • drawn or propelled by mechanical power, and
  • of the kind ordinarily acquired by consumers for personal, domestic or household use.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • cars
  • motorhomes
  • off-road vehicles
  • motorcycles over 60cc.

If you're carrying on the business of motor vehicle trading, and selling (including swapping or gifting) vehicles such as those listed above, you'll need to register as a trader.

Motor Vehicle Sales Act 2003 — Section 6(external link)

What isn't considered to be a motor vehicle

The same section also defines what's not considered to be a motor vehicle:

  • mopeds and motorcycles under 60cc
  • tractors or farm machinery
  • trailers, including caravans
  • mobility scooters.

If you're selling vehicles such as these, you probably won't need to register as a motor vehicle trader — but you may want to check this with your legal advisor.

Special case - 4WD farm bikes

A 4WD farm bike wouldn't normally be considered a motor vehicle under the MVSA, as it's classified as farm machinery. However, if the 4WD bike is being purchased to be used on the road, or for personal use, it is considered a motor vehicle.