Busking in Public Places



Issued 25 January 2018
Submissions close at 5pm on Friday 9 February 2018

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.
  • Busking is subject to registering with Council. No license is involved or license fee payable.
  • If busking is to be undertaken in close proximity to a shop, the approval of the shops within a 20 meter radius must also be obtained before busking commences.
  • If busking is to involve sound/noise/audible or other emissions, including smells/odours/gases of any kind, this should be advised to the land/shop owners consulted. Such emissions, must at all times, be within approved limits defined in the District Plan.
  • 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 encourage this type of activity, please note that while buskers must register with Council, there is no 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/shop owner approval.

In the event of complaints being received by Council, the busker will be held responsible for any associated costs where complaints are found to be legitimate.

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 prospective busker, providing for greater all-round certainty.
  • If successful, Council may be able to also make other such services self-regulating
  • It involves a formal administrative process.

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 9 February 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: 09 Feb 2018 5:17pm