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The Complete New Zealand Driving and Rental Guide

With a territory as large as the United Kingdom but with only a population of 4.5 million inhabitants, New Zealand has always been a popular travel destination thanks to its beautiful and diverse natural sceneries. Here is a driving and rental guide we prepare especially for you aiming at helping you have a smooth road trip.

  • Speed Limit and Traffic Signs
  • Seatbelt and Child Safety
  • Parking, Fuel and Toll
  • Traffic Violation
  • Driving Licence and Age Requirements

Speed Limit and Traffic Signs

In New Zealand, driving is on the left with overtaking on the right. New Zealand has the same system of signs and road code as you would find in the United Kingdom. During winter, especially in the mountains or on South Island, driving can be tricky. Therefore snow chains are highly recommended when renting a car at this season.

Speed Limit

There are speed limits of 100 km/h on highways and 50 km/h in urban areas unless signs say otherwise.

Traffic Signs

There are three major types of signs in New Zealand: compulsory, warning and information signs. Here are some of the regulatory signs that you may often see in New Zealand.

New Zealand Traffic Sign StopStop
New Zealand Traffic Sign Give WayGive Way
New Zealand Traffic Sign No U turnNo U-turn
New Zealand Traffic Sign 30 km/h Speed Limit30 km/h Speed Limit
New Zealand Traffic Sign No StoppingNo Stopping

Warning signs are diamond-shaped with yellow or green background.

New Zealand Traffic Sign 60 km/h Speed Limit Ahead60 km/h Speed Limit Ahead
New Zealand Traffic Sign Merging Traffic from RightMerging Traffic from Right 
New Zealand Traffic Sign Road BumpRoad Bump
New Zealand Traffic Sign Watch for Large Animals (Cattle)Watch for Large Animals (Cattle)
New Zealand Traffic Sign Railway CrossbuckRailway Crossbuck

Information signs are in rectangular shape with a white background.

New Zealand Traffic Sign Left Turn at Any Time With CareLeft Turn at Any Time With Care
New Zealand Traffic Sign Cyclists Cross Here With Care (to the Left)Cyclists Cross Here With Care (to the Left)

Further information on signs for driving in New Zealand can be found in this booklet.

*Please be aware that rules are subject to change. EasyRentCars.com will try the best to maintain the accuracy of this information.

Seatbelt and Child Safety

Seatbelt Laws

The driver is responsible for ensuring all passengers under 15 years wear seat belts. Passengers aged 15 and over are responsible for putting seat belts on themselves.

Booster Seat Laws

All children under 7 must use an approved child restraint appropriate for their age and size. 


You must correctly secure children aged between 7 and 8 in an approved child restraint if one is available in the vehicle. If not, in any child restraint or safety belt that is available. 


For children aged between 8 and 14, a safety belt must be used. If not available, they must travel in the back seat. 

*Please be aware that rules are subject to change. EasyRentCars.com will try the best to maintain the accuracy of this information.

Parking, Fuel and Toll

Parking

· Forbidden Parking 


You cannot park your car in the following spots: 


- Along the broken yellow lines along the side of the curb, since it means that parking is not permitted


- Near a corner, curve, hill, traffic island or intersection, if it will stop other people from seeing along the road 


- On, or closer than 5 metres to a fire hydrant, unless somebody who can move the vehicle stays with it 


- In front of or closer than 1 metre to a vehicle entrance 


- On or closer than 6 metres to an intersection, unless there are parking spaces or a notice telling you that you can park there 


· Parking Signs 


Parking signs in New Zealand are marked with numbers indicating how long you can park the car and an arrow to indicate directions. Some are specified with the date of the week as well.

 New Zealand Parking With Specified Time And Arrow New Zealand Parking With Specified Time And Dates And Arrow

· Paid Parking 

All machines accept New Zealand coins, and some of them have been introduced with credit cards and TXT-a-Park payment methods. Currently, you still need to go for Pay-and-Display parking. However, all machines will be upgraded by March 2018 to include Pay By Plate technology, which allows you to enter your vehicle’s registration plate number directly on the machine and pay for it by credit card, debit card, coins or TXT-a-Park. Note that there is a 50-cent fee for credit card or TXT-a-Park transaction.

New Zealand Paid Parking Metre(Image from Stuff.co.nz)

Fuel Prices

The average gasoline price in New Zealand in November 2017 is $2.22 per litre, while it is of $1.47 for diesel.

Toll

There are three toll roads in New Zealand: the Northern Gateway Toll Road north in Auckland, the Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road and the Takitimu Drive Toll Road in Tauranga.

New Zealand Toll Road(Image from nzta.govt.nz)


How much you should pay depends on your car type. You can pay the tolls by debit or credit cards, POLi, and cash. 


Debit or credit card 

You can use your Visa or Mastercard to buy or pay a Pay & Go toll.


POLi 

If you have Internet banking with ANZ, ASB, BNZ, Kiwibank, TSB Bank, Westpac or Bank Direct, then you can buy or pay a Pay & Go toll (external link) using Payment Online (POLi). 


Note: POLi is not available for business internet banking customers. 


Cash 

If you prefer to pay with cash (or by debit/credit card) you can pay your tolls at selected service stations (a transaction fee of $1.20 per transaction will apply). 


Be aware that as a car renter, not paying for the toll fee will result in the car hire company paying it for you and collecting the toll fee along with an add-on of management fee (note that it can sometimes be costly) from your credit card.

*Please be aware that rules are subject to change. EasyRentCars.com will try the best to maintain the accuracy of this information.

Traffic Violation

DUI Laws

If you are 20 or over, you must not drive if you have consumed more than the legal alcohol limit, which is 250 micrograms per litre of breath or 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood (0.05%). There is a zero tolerance for alcohol if you are under 20.

Traffic Fines

In New Zealand, exceeding the speed limit results in an infringement fine range from $30 to $630. The amount of the infringement fine will depend on the difference between the actual and legal speed limit. 


As for parking, an infringement notice can be issued if a vehicle is parked illegally on public land, or in breach of what a parking sign says. In some circumstances, the vehicle can also be towed away if it is obstructing traffic. 


Normally, there will be a website or hotline number on the front or back of the ticket as well as the reason for the violation fine and the relevant voucher number. Please be aware that you can log onto the website or call the hotline and follow the guidelines to pay the ticket. 


Failure to pay tickets will result in the car hire company paying them on the renter’s behalf, and debit the renter credit card for the fine amount plus an administration fee. Please note that you can always contact EasyRentCars’ 24/7 customer service team for help if you have questions concerning this matter. 

*Please be aware that rules are subject to change. EasyRentCars.com will try the best to maintain the accuracy of this information.

Driving Licence and Age Requirements

At the time of rental in New Zealand, all drivers must present a full and valid driving licence from the renters country of residence and the licence should be held for at least 1 or 2 years ( policies may vary depending on car hire companies). An International Driving Permit is highly recommended for international drivers. If your domestic driving licence is not printed in English (Arabic, Japanese, Cyrillic etc), an International Driving Permit (IDP/IDL) or an official translation in English is required when you drive in New Zealand.


Minimum age in New Zealand is 21 years (age may vary depending on car category) and the maximum is 80 years of age. If you're 21-25, you are likely to have to pay a young driver fee. If you're 65 or older, you may have to pay a senior driver fee.


*Please be aware that rules are subject to change. EasyRentCars.com will try the best to maintain the accuracy of this information.

Guest reviews

1 /

S.Baker

December 15, 2019 Destination: Auckland

10Great rental car

We were hoping for a hatchback but ended up with a saloon. Luckily the boxed bicycle would just fit in. Having the bike caused problems at the airport pickup as the car couldn’t take the two of us as well as the bike. One of us had to wait for another vehicle. We did say we had a bike when we phoned to ask to be collected! Other than this small hitch, the whole process of getting the car was quick and straight forward. The staff were extremely pleasant.

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T.Rodgers

December 14, 2019 Destination: Christchurch

7.7Never rented a car with so many kilometers

The car had over 220k, beat up looking on outside, amazed that the inside was so clean

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T.Rodgers

December 14, 2019 Destination: Auckland

9.7Very easy

Everything went smoothly

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Rangi

December 14, 2019 Destination: Auckland

10Excellent

J'ai réservé dans cette compagnie au vu des commentaires et des notations. Tout a été parfait : l'accueil pour le pick-up et l'aide (je m'étais trompé de terminal), les explications, le véhicule, tout !

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December 13, 2019 Destination: Auckland

5Get a car at another company

Theres a different between corolla hatchback and corolla. I got hatchback even tough it written corolla. The staff late for picking me up at the airport. I have to call twice and wait like 40minutes before the van arrive. The car we got have lots of scratchest and dusty.the car runs good and u pay what u got say the staff when i complaint about the car

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December 12, 2019 Destination: Auckland

7.7Good

オークランド国際空港インターナショナルターミナルの7番出口前からピックアップと書いていたが、7番出口は工事中であった。 30分ほど彷徨いやっとピックアップ場所を見つけた。9番出口から横断歩道を2つほど渡った先であった。事前に知らせて欲しかった。

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Gonda Sollie

December 12, 2019 Destination: Wellington

10Great rental

Great car, good service.

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Pete

December 11, 2019 Destination: Auckland

8.7Very Good

Cheap car but very suitable for my week. Great value for money. Thanks for a good service.

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arwV8

December 9, 2019 Destination: Christchurch

9.3Not as good as auckland, biased towards Chinese customers

The car was clean inside but outside was dirty, pressure washed that didn't clean very well. Car was function but old 5-6 years at a guess.

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E.Burrus

December 9, 2019 Destination: Auckland

5.3Not the best experience

Car had 151,000 miles on it. Too many dents/scratches/scrapes/stain to document. Radio didn't work well, needed new windshield wiper blades, it smelled very musty/damp. It didn't break down during our three week rental so that is good.

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Tanya

December 9, 2019 Destination: Auckland

8.3Good, will use again

Light on fuel

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December 8, 2019 Destination: Queenstown

9Excellent

ほぼ新車で、貸し出し・返却の手続きも5分以内と非常にスピーディーだった

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D.Williams

December 8, 2019 Destination: Christchurch

9.3Listen to my concerns and changed the car

After being offered a unsuitable standard of car the local office changed my original offer to a better Rav Four

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K.Wu

December 8, 2019 Destination: Auckland

8.3Very Good

Staff in Auckland is very good But the one in Picton is not as friendly as the one in Auckland. And also, the car we pick-up in Auckland is good, but the conditions of the Picton one could be better.

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December 8, 2019 Destination: Auckland

6.7Good enuoght

Overall everything was good enough, the car a bitt aged, but did its job and price was guite low.

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Soar Feat

December 8, 2019 Destination: Auckland

8.7Good booking service offering discounted rates with a decent car hire company.

Keen price for an older well used vehicle with lots of little nicks and superficial paint damage. Well serviced vehicle with good mechanicals for 120,000k, ran well for the extra 7,500k we put on it and with pretty good fuel consumption. Collection and drop off service efficient and friendly. No hard sell of additional extras. All in all a good car hire experience.

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G.Draper

December 7, 2019 Destination: Auckland

2.7Terrible

The van was VERY old and absolutely Filthy! I've never rented a car that was so old and disgusting.

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A.Savage

December 6, 2019 Destination: Wellington

7Good

Driving down the motorway I noticed the bonnet wasn’t put down properly and was flapping in the wind

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S.Lismore

December 4, 2019 Destination: Auckland

9Excellent

I had a good experience with great rentals after reading bad reviews. Staff had good English and picked me up promptly despite lots of bad feedback. The deposit went into my account quite soon after drop off also. I would really recommend this company!

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T.Tran

December 4, 2019 Destination: Auckland

10Excellent

Good car good service

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December 3, 2019 Destination: Wellington

5The rental company still matters

Their cars are not new and they all seemed to have some damage. I witnessed many customers equally perplexed by the amount of damage if their assigned car. Their fleet did not look very new. Even though I had a guaranteed car make and model, they were unable to provide me with what I expected. They had one model but it was the "personal vehicle" for one of the employees and it was not clean/ready for a customer to drive and was probably an early 2010s model.

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December 3, 2019 Destination: Auckland

10Near the top

A great little crew offering good, inexpensive cars and friendly service.

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K.Lim

December 2, 2019 Destination: Greymouth

10Highly recommended for car rental!

We were given a bigger car than what we opted for and were grateful for that!

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Gonda Sollie

December 1, 2019 Destination: Wellington

10Great experience

Hapoy returning customer.

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Gonda Sollie

December 1, 2019 Destination: Wellington

10Great rental

Very quick service. Easy pick up and drop off.

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Z.Skolnik

December 1, 2019 Destination: Auckland

8.7Very Good

Car broke down and they had me up and away within the hour. Alongside the tow to my next destination, they gave me a replacement car the day after. Was great service, very happy.

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P.Nedthongsavanh

November 30, 2019 Destination: Christchurch

9Nice service and good vehicle

Good service and i got a nice car

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L.Ho

November 30, 2019 Destination: Rotorua

10Splendid

Excellent customer service on pick up at Rotorua and return at Auckland Airport.

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November 30, 2019 Destination: Queenstown

3.7Never again with dollar!

This rental company is a nightmare. Took them more than an hour to pick us up. Dropping off was even worse. Service staff was incompetent and completely overwhelmed.

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M.Dudley

November 30, 2019 Destination: Auckland

10Excellent value and service

Excellent value and service, would use again

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T.Griffiths

November 29, 2019 Destination: Queenstown

8.7Easy process at a very competive pricing

Picking up the car took a while as there were quite a few people waiting in a queue. However, once I had completed the paperwork, all went pretty quickly. They didn't have the car I ordered, but gave me a 4 year old RAV4, which was a lovely car, so no complaints about that.

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J.Brader

November 29, 2019 Destination: Wellington

9.7Excellent

Car was fine, met all our needs.

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YingTing

November 28, 2019 Destination: Christchurch

8.7Nil

Nil

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J.Hepworth

November 28, 2019 Destination: Auckland

10Top rentals the best in auckland

Excellent service

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November 27, 2019 Destination: Wellington

8Stressful

Poor customer service provided by Sage. Apparently it was her first week at ACE she is originally from Hertz. She showed poor customer service skills and at times rolled her eyes like I was stupid.

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craig

November 26, 2019 Destination: Christchurch

7.3watch out for hidden costs

I was given a Hyundai accent in almost new condition...not a Toyota. When I went to collect my vehicle was told I had to pay an extra $20 a day as I didn't have full coverage. When booked in Australia I thought I had it all paid for. Not happy. Service was fine

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November 26, 2019 Destination: Auckland

8Nearly miss my flight as no staff at the depot during drop off. But it was cheap enough to try again

The pick up is a bit further from the airport but it is okay as they come to pick us up in a shuttle. Approximately 7-8 minutes drive from the airport. Some issues with drop off as no staff at the depot so had to wait for about 30 minutes. I rang them and was told that they are dropping off a customer to the airport. If it wasn't for the flight delay, I would have missed my flight.

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A.Walker

November 26, 2019 Destination: Auckland

9.7First good, but noisy, second dirty but functional, third TBD as have not used yet

The Corolla was a nippy little car but is not insulated from road noise. The NZ roads have coarse seal and the noise was tiring. We did 1800km in 10 days. I still have not had a resolution to the fact a stone chip was probably collected on the screen during our rental. I took out the extra insurance through easy car rental AXApolicy, so don't know the out come...

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R.Henry

November 26, 2019 Destination: Christchurch

9.3Very cheap and excellent car

Easier than other companies

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Leonard

November 26, 2019 Destination: Queenstown

8Fantastic

Nil

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Egan

November 26, 2019 Destination: Auckland

9Excellent

The staff were supportive and the condition of the car was good. I really enjoyed this experience, better than what I have expected.

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Kevin

November 26, 2019 Destination: Auckland

6.7Great Rentals are cheap but not great service

You took the bond on my credit card first. Then told me about insurance afterwards. So I took the insurance and you did a reversal of the bond but it hasn't been returned to my card yet. It has been 6 days already. Also, the two people at the counter had very little English language skills. Seems strange in NZ.

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B.Mekhaiel

November 25, 2019 Destination: Christchurch

9.7Rent with no fear

Wonderful staff & all the extra you need to drive safely, they supply it for free. Excellent service. Very happy

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M.Lai

November 25, 2019 Destination: Auckland

7.3car is great, price is good, no hassle

I am more than happy with Yes Rental. i cant ask for morr with that price tag. i will be a returning customer.

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November 25, 2019 Destination: Queenstown

6.3Slightly above average.

Asked for a large SUV which we received however, the car didn't have a working radio with Bluetooth (it had an aftermarket radio). Told them we had to switch vehicles as we weren't going to use a car with no working radio in 2019. The staff were accommodating and advised we could swap for a car that had radio the following day, although it wasn't a 4WD. Annoying to have to go through this process but the staff was friendly.

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A.Tolley

November 25, 2019 Destination: Auckland

7.3Great service. Lacking More service staff at counter. Management lack Forward Planning in Staff

New car. Low kms. Engine Size not shown on Website

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S.PATEL

November 24, 2019 Destination: Auckland

10Excellent!! Must book with easyrentcars.

Everything was just perfect. But we have asked the counter staff at the time of pick up to take the cash instead of deducting the amount from credit card, the lady said your cash will be accepted at time of dropping the vehicle, and no deduction will be made from card. But when we went to Budget office on the date of return, it was closed and they said they will deduct the amount from card. So, when we have mentioned at the time of booking that we will return the vehicle in the evening around 9PM-10PM, you should make a note of it to at least attend your customers at the given dropping time to either collect the money or to inspect the vehicle. How can you make your customers false promises to accept cash at the end and just deducting it from the card at the time of return?? I found it very awkward and disrespectful.

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November 24, 2019 Destination: Queenstown

10enjoyable experience

the car i hired was supposed to be a toyota Rav 4 however i always seem to get "the OR Similar vehicle'' in my case a Mitsubish,i when i order in advance i expect to get the vehicle i request. Only Gripe on an otherwise enjoyable experience

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C.Ong

November 23, 2019 Destination: Auckland

8.3Pleasant, will book again!

Very friendly and helpful staff, they were also mandarin speaking so it made things alot easier.

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November 23, 2019 Destination: Auckland

10Excellent

I got a new car with 357km odometer

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Frequently asked questions

Q1.What is an insurance excess?

The excess is the amount you'll only be liable for in case of damage(under Collision Damage Waiver) or theft(under Theft Protection) of the vehicle.
Information about the excess will be clearly stated in the price inclusion when you reserve a car on EasyRentCars.

Q2. How can I add an addtional driver?

You are advised to make a request upon your arrival at the rental counter. Additional charge per day will incur unless '1 Additional Driver Included' is stipulated on the rental.
Please note that the same licence and age requirement applys to the additonal driver. The addtional driver is supposed to present the required licence document along with the main driver at pickup.

Q3.What if I want to pick up or drop off my rental car out of office hours?

EasyRentCars will show you the car offers available at your chosen time on the search results.
However, pick-up or drop-off out of general opening hours may subject to an extra fee unless self-service pick-up or drop-off is available.
After you reserve a car on EasyRentCars, we will inform you of specific policy of the car hire company by email.

Q4. Can I take the hired car to another country or cross border?

If you want to pick up your car in one country and drop it in another, your search results will show you cars you can do that with.
If you're planning to cross any borders during your trip, bear in mind:
1. You may have to pay more.
There are often extra fees, taxes or additional cover you'll pay at the car hire counter.
2.It may not be allowed.
Depending on where you're hiring, you may not be able to take your car to another country.
Please email us if you want to take your hire car into a different country during your trip, and we'll talk you through your options.

Q5. Can I pick up my car at one location and return it at different location?

Yes. You can pick up the vehicle in one place and drop it off in another. An ‘one-way fee’ will incur. Whether it is inclued in the rental price or what additional cost may arise will be clearly stated at the time of booking on EasyRentCars.
Please inform the car hire company of your drop-off location when you pick up the vehicle or contact them directly during your trip. You will find a phone number on the rental agreement you signed at pickup.

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