Busking in Public Places Policy

Issued 26 March 2018
Submissions have closed (they closed on Friday 13 April 2018)

Council originally consulted on this proposed policy in January/February 2018. However it has since been discovered that the proposed policy put out for public consultation was not the correct version adopted by Council, so Council are reconsulting. The changes from the policy originally consulted on and the version approved by Council are clearly marked on the updated proposed policy. The main changes are the removal of the requirement to register with Council prior to busking and the removal of the 20 metre radius regarding shop owners approval.

What is being proposed?

Busking is a recognised and mostly very popular form of public entertainment that also introduces atmosphere and character to open spaces. However, busking can be subject to misuse and can pose a problem for some, therefore Council has chosen to develop a draft policy to regulate the practice.

Clause 202.1 of the NZ Standard Model General Bylaws relating to Public Places states that:

“Except with the prior permission of Council or an authorised officer, a person shall not in any public place:
g)  Solicit any subscription, collection or donation, preach or undertake any busking”

With the creation of open spaces such as the Town Square, it has to be accepted that the practice of busking will occur in greater numbers than happens now. As a means of providing certainty to buskers, landowners, shop owners and the general public, Council has drafted a set of rules/conditions/expectations applicable to busking and buskers.

Council could decide to limit busking to specific areas/places in the District, however instead it has chosen to develop the following rules:

  • Busking is subject to the prior approval of the owner of the land involved. Apart from a fairness consideration, it provides the landowner with the opportunity to also preserve his/her rights in relation to health and safety etc.
  • If busking is to involve sound/noise/audible or other emissions, including smells/odours/gases of any kind, this should not be at levels that may be deemed to be offensive.
  • Busking will not be allowed if it involves any aspects that may detract from the amenity value of the area.
  • Busking shall not involve any material that may be deemed objectionable, also seen from a religious, cultural or ethnic viewpoint.
  • No busking will take place where it or the audience watching impedes the free flow of traffic, including pedestrians or access to businesses or places of interest.

In line with Council’s commitment to encouraging this type of activity, there is no registration, license or license fee involved. Council may undertake inspections from time to time; when we do, the busker must be able to provide written proof of land owner approval.

Why is this being proposed?

Council appreciates that busking can have negative impacts. The attached proposed policy puts in place a framework for meeting the requirements of Clause 202.1 of the NZ Standard Model General Bylaws NZS 9201: Part 2: Public Places and provides parameters to allow busking to take place in a positive manner. 

What are the options?

Council did not deem the option of allowing busking to be unregulated as being practicable, so the only remaining viable option is to:

Adopt a Busking in Public Places Policy and delegate the powers of Authorised Officer to the CEO, noting that he will delegate this further.

B​ENEFITS (now and into the future)​NEGATIVES (now and into the future)
  • It provides for a process that involves control over busking.
  • It provides a greater ability to better manage the effects of busking.
  • It involves one-to-one contact between a Council officer and a busker, providing for greater all-round certainty.
  • If successful, Council may be able to also make other such services self-regulating
  • It may involve a formal administrative process in the event of having to attend to complaints.

The process will cost approximately $1,000 in staff time and advertising. Developing an information brochure and putting this information on our website can cost another $1,000. This can be funded from current budgets for policy development. The cost of periodic inspections is unknown. It will generally be done as part of other inspections.

Council has approved the attached draft Busking in Public Places Policy for public consultation. It also intends delegating the authority to manage busking in the District and undertake associated enforcement to the CEO, noting that it will be delegated to a staff member reporting to the CEO. To address this, our Delegations Manual will be amended as follows:

​To manage all aspects of the Busking in Public Places Policy.​All aspects relating to busking.​Busking is generally permitted, if not encouraged.

How to have your say

Residents are strongly encouraged to have a say on this matter and the proposed policy. We want to hear from as many people as possible before a decision is made, so please have your say today.

All submissions must be in writing. We will accept submissions in the following format:

  • Council submission form – online or paper
  • Email to submissions@greydc.govt.nz
  • Written submissions posted to Grey District Council, PO Box 382, Greymouth or hand delivered to 105 Tainui Street, Greymouth

You are welcome to address Council in person on your submission – if you wish to do this, please clearly indicate this in your submission. Council will hear and consider submissions at a meeting after the close-off date.

Submissions close at 5pm on Friday 13 April 2018.

Every submission made to the Council will be acknowledged in accordance with the Local Government Act 2002, copied and made available to the public.


Page reviewed: 18 Apr 2018 1:27pm