Note: This is in the series of blog posts I wrote about my preparation to move to New Zealand. Although I've been in Auckland for 4 months, I wish to complete the series in the next post. The original date stamps will give you an idea of how time-consuming migration takes. The 'New Zealand' tag will bring up all related posts.
[Originally written 23/12/2010]
You don't actually need an International Driving Permit to drive in New Zealand. Your current driving license is valid for up to 1 year as long as it has not expired. The other condition is that it must be in English, failing which, you need to provide an acceptable English translation.
For Malaysians, the easiest and cheapest way to do so is to get an official translation from JPJ. Firstly, prepare a photocopy of your IC and driving license, both front and back. Then, at any JPJ branch, ask for the translation application form from the enquiry counter (it's where you get a queue number).
Inform the officer at the enquiry counter once you've filled in the single page form and he/she will direct you to a staff member who will check your forms and take your payment of RM10. That's it! It will be ready for you in half a working day.
[End of original post]
Since I came here and started driving, I've mulled the idea of getting a NZ driving license. The benefits: lower car insurance excess ($400 less!) and it's a valid proof of age ID (as opposed to using your passport).
Unfortunately, I'm not from one of the "lucky" countries who can convert their driving license to a full NZ license. Oh no, Malaysians have to retake the full exam - both road code and practical driving test. This will cost about $200 in fees alone, and I'm not willing to spend that time and effort!
In my original post I mentioned that foreign driving licenses are valid for 12 months in New Zealand. I found a loophole, as explained by the NZ Transport Agency agent - the 12 months validity resets itself every time I enter NZ. So as long as I leave NZ and reenter it every 12 months, my license is good to go again!