Road Transport Forum New Zealand

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Road Transport Forum NZ

We are the national body representing the commercial road freight industry. Our aim is to help build a country in which the road freight industry, and the businesses and communities it serves, can grow and prosper.

Over 80% of road freight operators in New Zealand voluntarily belong to the Forum's member associations. Read more

Current Topics

South Island Route Information



General information for operators travelling between Christchurch and Picton.






Following the Magnitude 7.8 earthquake on 14 November SH1 at Kaikoura has been closed to all traffic. The main route between Christchurch and Picton is via SHs 7, 65, 6 and 63. Given the damage to SH1 this is likely to remain the main route for several months.

  • Drivers should expect this journey to take on average 7.5 hours, however as there is currently four times the usual amount of traffic on this route, delays are possible.
  • This road is narrow in many places with fewer passing lanes than SH1. There is also likely to be a large number of drivers unfamiliar with the route, including tourist drivers.
  • All drivers using this alternate route need to be patient and show consideration for all other road users.
  • Fuel, food and toilet are available along this route at Culverden, Springs Junction, Murchison and St Arnaud.
  • The Police have advised that they will increase the number of patrols along this route and will be enforcing speed limits to ensure safety.
  • NZTA is looking at a range of short-term measures to help improve the journey time and safety along this route.
  • With a large number of aftershocks continuing to affect the area drivers should ensure they have the latest information, available here and here, email or call 0800 44 44 49 – 0800 4 highways

Freight specific information

  • All 50MAX vehicles and HPMVs that were permitted for SH1 are able to use the alternative route.
  • These vehicles can travel on SH7 to Springs Junction, on SH65 to Murchison and SH6 to Nelson or turn off at Kawatiri onto SH63 to Renwick, onto SH6 and into Rapaura Road (SH62) to join SH1 to Picton at Spring Creek. Freight vehicles are asked to not travel via SH6 through Woodbourne and into Blenheim to join SH1.
  • The Christchurch to Picton journey will take at least 3 hours longer so drivers need to ensure they are well rested before they start, take plenty of breaks and allow for the additional time when planning their schedule.
  • Drivers need to abide by their work-time and logbook requirements when using the alternative route.
  • NZTA are working through the implications of overweight and overdimension vehicles using this route and more information will be available in due course.
  • If you have any specific queries regarding route access, please contact the NZTA Permitting team on 0800 699 000 or email

NZTA update as of 22 November

The NZ Transport Agency is reminding freight operators that the alternative to State highway 1 between Picton and Christchurch is a longer route and to ensure that drivers are well rested and take plenty of breaks.

The Transport Agency’s National Manager Operations Kate Styles says that it is pleasing to see that freight companies have adjusted the way they operate to work around the closure of State highway 1 and the extra time this journey involves.

Variations to work-time, rest-time rule

“We have had enquiries about variations to the work-time, rest-time rule for the alternative route. This is something we will assess on a case-by-case basis, and in very exceptional circumstances. Our primary concern will always be the safety of drivers and all road users,” Mrs Styles says. 

“We want to make sure that commercial drivers who travel this challenging route are aware of the extra time they will be driving and are rested and refreshed. This road is now a vital lifeline for the South Island and we need to ensure that we do all we can to lower the risks for those using it, such as driver fatigue.”

The alternative route which involves State highways 7, 65, 6 and 63 adds at least 3 hours to a trip between Picton and Christchurch.

All motorists using the road need to be aware this is a narrow, windy route with fewer passing opportunities. The road is getting far more traffic than usual and all drivers need to be prepared for queues and potential delays.

“We have received un-solicited feedback from road users letting us know how courteous truck drivers on the route are being, which is really great to hear,” Mrs Styles says.

Commercial operators and drivers who want to be sent traffic updates for the route via text message are encouraged to email to be added to the distribution list for this service. Once signed up they will remain on the distribution list until the end of summer (Feb 2017).

All High Productivity Motor Vehicles (HPMVs) including 50MAX that were permitted for State highway 1 are able to use the alternative route. However there are some restrictions that are important to note:

  • HPMVs including 50MAX are not to use the short cut of Anglesea Street / Boyce Street, at Renwick to get between SH63 and SH6
  • HPMVs including 50MAX are not to travel via SH6 through Woodbourne and into Blenheim to join SH1

RTF: Safety-First for freight operators on SH7

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Rollover Prevention

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Member Associations

The Road Transport Forum has constituent associations spread throughout New Zealand. Four are grouped together as Road Transport Association NZ. They provide advocacy for their members at the regional and local level, offer business advice and negotiate highly favourable prices on a wide range of essential products and services. For more on each association and the services they offer to road freight operators, click on the logos.

Occupation Health & Safety

For advice and guidance on how to work safely on and around trucks... Read More

Technical Information

Operating Requirements

Operator licensing standards, drivers licensing /training, driving hours and logbooks, vehicle registration and licensing, Road User Charges, Operator Safety Rating System.

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Vehicle Requirements

Mass and dimension rules, vehicle engineering and equipment, maintenance and inspection.

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Overdimension Overweight Requirements

Overdimension policy and guidelines, overweight policy and permits.

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Enforcement Protocols

CVIU, general and specific enforcement policies.

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Dangerous Goods

Dangerous Goods Rule and standards setting, HSNO Updates, National Security (MSA).

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Stock Transport / Logging

Livestock Code of Practice and animal welfare, operational and contracting equipment standards, logging safety management.

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Industry Safety Performance

Crash and speed data by section.

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