This article is focused on New Zealand law and explains issues from a Common law perspective.

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The demerit points system for New Zealand vehicle drivers


If you accumulate 100 or more demerit points as a driver in any two-year period, you will be disqualified from driving for three months.

Demerit points are added with each offence you commit. The number of points depends on the particular offence - in the case of speeding offences, the faster you were going the higher the number of points awarded against you.

Letter of warning at 50 demerit points

Once you reach 50 demerit points you will receive a letter of warning from the Director of Land Transport. This letter will warn you that you will be disqualified if you receive another 50 points within a two-year period. Note that the two years runs from the date of the most recent offence, not the first offence.

The letter is deemed to have been sent to you once it is posted, even if you never in fact receive it.

Three-month disqualification at 100 demerit points

Once you reach 100 demerit points you will be served with a notice disqualifying you from driving for three months.

At the end of the three-month period all the demerit points are wiped and your licence will be returned to you.

Cautionary notes
  • If you know you have reached 100 points it may be worth contacting a lawyer to liaise with the Police about setting a suitable time for them to serve you with a notice.
  • If you have reached 100 points it is also advisable to contact a lawyer in order to find out whether you might qualify for a limited driver's licence (see How to apply for limited licence). A limited licence permits a disqualified driver to drive in limited circumstances - for example, to get to and from work.

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