All driver licences, WoFs, CoFs, and some vehicle certifications, that expired on or after January 1, 2020 will be valid for up to six months from April 10, 2020.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford has confirmed this morning that people with expired vehicle-related documentation resulting from the national lockdown need not worry about penalties until later this year.
"People shouldn't have to worry about getting fined for having an expired document if driving to use essential services or as an essential worker during the Covid-19 alert level 4 lockdown," he said.
"That's why we have provided an extension to give certainty to the public that they won't be issued infringement notices for using their vehicles appropriately.
"It'll still be up to drivers to keep their vehicles safe and I urge owners to follow the NZ Transport Agency's advice and regularly self-check their vehicle."
Twyford said drivers should still check their vehicles before taking to the road.
"We're asking drivers before they set off, to give it a TWIRL – check your tyres, windscreen, wipers, mirrors, and indicators, look for rust, and test your lights," he said.
"We are allowing essential repairs, like sorting out punctured tyres or damaged windscreens.
"If anything looks out of order, please go get it fixed as soon as you can."
Drivers will still need to be medically fit to drive, comply with relevant restrictions and conditions on their licence and obey all road rules, Twyford reminded.
"Any licence suspensions and disqualifications will also continue to apply," he said.
"The extension will give people and businesses plenty of time after the lockdown to renew their documents without putting extra pressure on them when they are already likely to be stressed."
Other changes announced this morning include licence endorsements that expire on or after March 1, 2020 will be extended and there will be a suspension of the requirement to display a current vehicle licence (rego) if it expired on or after January 1, 2020.
Twyford said the rules were relaxed in order to enable essential travel - not non-essential trips or Easter getaways.
"Kiwis should still stay home and save lives," he said.
The planned process around renewals once the restrictions are lifted will be communicated at a later date.
The NZ Transport Agency indicates that around 600,000 WoFs and CoFs, 800,000 vehicle licences, and 40,000 driver licences and 12,500 endorsements are expected to expire between March 24, 2020 - the start of alert level 4 - and May 17, 2020.
The agency said this morning that the changes announced by Twyford would help drivers and vehicle owners safely navigate through the Covid-19 lockdown period and beyond.
NZTA spokesman Kane Patena said the changes were aimed at easing the concerns of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who own or drive vehicles in a private or commercial capacity or hold endorsements by providing much-needed clarity during the lockdown period.
"Questions about the impact of expiring driver licences, WoFs and CoFs have been front of mind for many owners and drivers since New Zealand entered alert level 4 on March 26," Patena said.
"Waka Kotahi has been working closely with Ministry of Transport to find solutions which will allow people to continue to undertake essential travel safely without risking fines or prosecution.
"Our goal is to ensure that everyone who needs to travel to access essential services can do so, provided the vehicle they use is safe to drive on public roads.
"People should not be afraid to undertake essential travel at this time solely because a document has expired which is unable to be renewed."
Patena stressed that the temporary extensions introduced by the legislative change were intended to enable essential travel only.
They do not remove the responsibility for drivers to ensure their vehicles are safe, or the need to comply with all other road rules.
"During the lockdown people should stay home and stay local," he said.
"For those undertaking essential travel, the law already requires drivers to ensure that their vehicles are up to WoF or CoF standard every time the vehicle is used on the road, regardless of how recently the vehicle has passed inspection.
"It's every driver's responsibility to ensure their vehicle remains safe to operate during this extension period.
"Waka Kotahi has an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide for undertaking a basic self-inspection on our website, and we urge people to use it."