Permits are required for trading in the public places in our city.

Public Places Bylaw 2018

Trading and Events in Public Places Policy 2018

Buskers and street performers

Busking and street performance helps to enrich Christchurch’s vibrancy and is defined as any person or group of persons who are actively providing a performance to entertain in exchange for a donation. Busking and other street performance makes an important contribution to the vibrant cultural life in Christchurch. We’ve made it easy for people to perform in the Central City where there are several excellent spaces, such as Hack Circle.

The Code of Conduct for street performers provides the framework to assist performers, businesses and residents in understanding the rules for busking. The aim is to foster an environment that encourages and enables a range of street performances, while recognising the importance of safety, amenity and minimising complaints and other issues. All street performers are required to fully read and adhere to the Code of conduct for street performers(external link).

As a performer, you are able to:

  • perform on most footpaths, shared roads and public spaces in the Central City
  • set up for 30 minutes and perform for 60 minutes on any one site per day
  • ask an audience for donations in a respectful manner.

The Council may, from time to time, designate specific areas where street performance is permitted or prohibited. The nominated street performance areas will be included in a Register on the Council website.

All street performers should note that the sale of any goods is not permitted as part of the street performance activity. A separate trading permit under this policy must be obtained to do so.

Permit fee

Performers will require a permit if:

The fee for this permit is $37 (including GST).

Please note, applications will be actioned within 10 working days provided all the required information has been submitted. If the form is incomplete there may be a delay in processing.

The fee for this permit is $37 (including GST). Please note, applications will be actioned within 10 working days provided all the required information has been submitted. If the form is incomplete there may be a delay in processing.

General conditions

Council has laid out rules for managing street performers in the public places it manages in the following:

Apply to trade or perform in a public place

Mobile or travelling shops

Mobile trading is the temporary trading activity from a location for a period of up to one hour. For example, roadside stalls, coffee carts and ice cream trucks.

Most sports and regional parks with offsite parking can accommodate temporary mobile food stalls, such as coffee carts and ice cream trucks. Vendors at parks should always take care not to damage the grassed surfaces, and to seek permission from organised groups using the park. Contact the Council to book a location.

Mobile or travelling shops are not permitted on some roads:

Permanent mobile food stall sites are listed in a register on the Council website. The allocated sites for permanent mobile food stall locations are tendered on the expiry of a licence.

Permit fee

The fee for a mobile or travelling shop permit is $136 (including GST). Please note, applications will be actioned within 10 working days provided all required information has been submitted. If the form is incomplete there may be a delay in processing.

General conditions

Christchurch City Council regulates the activities of mobile or travelling shops under the following:

Apply to trade or perform in a public place

Retail stalls

Stalls are a common way to start a business, promote products at events, raise funds for charitable and educational organisations, or as a way for existing food businesses to reach new customers. A retail stall is a stand, stall, tent, mobile shop or other set up that is temporary, removed each day and is operated for less than six months in any 12-month period.

Stall operators selling food must also comply with the Food Act 2014 in respect of food to be sold at the stall.

Note that market stall applicants must approach the market organiser directly for a site.

Retail Stalls are not permitted on certain roads

No permission will be given for mobile trading on State Highways, arterial routes (as defined in the District Plan) or roads with a speed limit that exceeds 50km/hour. This to ensure the safety of vendors and customers as well as pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Exceptions can be made if the activity is part of an organised event and all traffic management requirements are met.

Licence fee

The fee for a retail stall licence is $84 (including GST). Please note, applications will be actioned within 10 working days provided all the required information has been submitted. If the form is incomplete there may be a delay in processing. 

General conditions

Apply to trade or perform in a public place

Micro-mobility devices including e-scooters

On 28 February 2019 the Council approved micro-mobility services to operate in Christchurch and recommended a city-wide cap of 1600 vehicles, to avoid an oversupply of idle vehicles creating public obstructions.

As of May 2019, the cap of 1600 e-scooters has been fully allocated.

In addition to the cap, the Council recommended charging a fee associated with the permit to ensure the use of public space is managed fairly and to balance the use of public space with the interests of commercial activities.

Micro-mobility information requirement memo [PDF, 198 KB]

Council e-scooter permit recommendations [PDF, 9.5 MB]

Hawkers

A hawker is someone who travels about carrying goods for sale unsolicited to the public, but does not display them on a table or stall, such as a pedlar. A permit is required for hawking in public places, and it is not permitted in some areas of our city.

Trading from a fixed location is not permitted.

In considering an application to hawk, the Council will take into account the:

  • nature of the merchandise involved
  • quality of the merchandise
  • environment the applicant requests to operate in, including the width of the footpath and the volume of pedestrian movement
  • access requirements for wheelchairs and pushchairs; and the impact on local existing businesses

The conditions for hawkers and the areas where this activity is permitted will be set out in an approval letter after the application has been considered.

If a hawker is selling food, a health licence may also be needed.

Hawking does not include stallholders or people with mobile or travelling shops.

Where hawkers are not permitted

  • Central City area bounded by and including Moorhouse Avenue, Fitzgerald Avenue, Bealey Avenue, Park Terrace, Rolleston Avenue and Antigua Street (to Moorhouse Ave)
  • Akaroa Business District being Rue Lavaud, Beach Road from Rue Benoit to the Akaroa Lighthouse, and Church Street
  • Lyttelton Main Business Area
  • Trading from any fixed location is not permitted

Permit fee

The fee for this permit is $37 (including GST). Please note, applications will be actioned within 10 working days provided all the required information has been submitted. If the form is incomplete there may be a delay in processing.

General conditions

Read the general Conditions for Hawkers [PDF, 30 KB].

Complaints

Complaints relating to hawkers operating in public places should be referred to the:

Complaints relating to hawkers on private property – hawkers who go door to door to sell on private property do not operate in a public place, and do not fall within the requirements of the Public Places Bylaw 2018.

Complaints about hawkers on private property should be referred to:

Windscreen washers

Pedestrians washing or offering to wash a vehicle when the vehicle is not legally parked is prohibited by the Land Transport Act 1998. The Council will not issue licences to people who want to wash windscreens on public roads. Complaints about windscreen washers should be referred to the New Zealand Police(external link).

Apply to trade or perform in a public place

Public speaking

An area in Cathedral Square has been designated as a special use area for public speaking. No booking is required however only one hour speaking at a time is permitted. 

General conditions

All users are required to fully read and adhere to the Code of Conduct – Speaker’s Corner(external link).

Speaker’s Corner – location

Speaker's Corner – location. Boundaries indicated by pink rectangle.

Pavement art

Pavement art is only permitted in the Central City if it is part of an approved event. The event permit will specify where pavement art can be located as part of the event. The Council may, from time to time, designate specific areas where pavement art is permitted or prohibited. The nominated areas will be included in a Register on the Council website.

For pavement art outside the Central City a permit is required. The following conditions apply to pavement art:

  • Use of materials that can easily be washed off without leaving any residue. The materials must not be slippery or create a public hazard.
  • If the pavement art is created on a removable surface, such as plastic, canvas or paper/card, and is fixed to the pavement, it must be with a product that does not leave any residue.
  • The site must be kept clean, tidy and safe at all times.
  • Commercial advertising is not permitted in pavement art.
  • The artist must not offer individual works of art or products for sale at the site.

All pavement artists should note that the sale of any goods is not permitted as part of the street performance activity. A separate trading permit under this policy must be obtained to do so.

Advertising on the pavement is not considered pavement art under the Trading and Events in Public Places Policy 2018 and is not allowed in any circumstances.

Permit fee

A street performance permit is required for pavement art. The fee for this permit is $37 (including GST). Please note, applications will be actioned within 10 working days provided all required information has been submitted. If the form is incomplete there may be a delay in processing.

General conditions

Council has laid out rules for managing street performers in the public places it manages in the following:

Apply to trade or perform in a public place

Amusement devices

Permit fee

All associated fees are detailed on the application form.

  • Fees must be paid when the application form is submitted. They cannot be paid onsite on the day.
  • Fees for permit applications are non-refundable.
  • Applications are not transferable to other dates outside those on the original application.

General conditions

Amusement devices are regulated under the Amusement Device Regulations 1978(external link). This requires that all devices have a valid Certificate of Registration and that whenever they are operated they have a local authority permit (Regulation 11(external link)).

Please note the following to help us process your application:

  • Applications must be accompanied by a current Certificate of Registration and the application fee.
  • Applications for weekend inspections should be submitted before 5pm on Thursday.
  • Applications for other days should be submitted at least two days before the event.
  • Applications should state exactly where the intended amusement device site will be and include an “inspect-by” time and a contact telephone number.
  • Rides should not commence before the device has been inspected and the permit issued.

Apply for an amusement device permit

Download and complete a permit to operate a registered amusement device form [PDF 45KB].

Complaints

Complaints about traders or events may be made to the Council through the Council’s website or by phoning 03 941 8999.

When contacting the Council to make a complaint, the complainant should, where possible, provide:

  • name and permit details of the trading, event or activity operator
  • time, location and type of activity
  • details of the issues

Complaints regarding violent, disorderly or offensive behaviour should be referred in the first instance to the NZ Police(external link) and then to the Council.

Complainants are encouraged to talk to the trading, event or activity operator to explain the issue and potential resolution (e.g. trade or perform elsewhere, reduce the noise level, or relocate if the activity is on a prohibited site).