Activities in Public Places Bylaw - Te Ture ā-Rōhe ki ngā Wāhi Marea
The Council adopted an amended version of this Bylaw on 16 May 2023 and these amendments are operative from 23 June 2023. The amended Bylaw is available below under Related Information and a copy can be downloaded here.
This bylaw is the Activities in Public Places Bylaw.
2 Explanatory notes
Text in boxes headed ‘Explanatory note’ in this bylaw is included for information purposes only, and –
(a) does not form part of this bylaw; and
(b) cannot be considered in the interpretation or application of a provision of this bylaw; and
(c) may be inserted, amended or removed without any formality.
This bylaw comes into force on 1 September 2017.
This bylaw applies to the district of the Thames-Coromandel District Council as defined in the Local Government (Waikato Region) Reorganisation Order 1989, Gazette 1989, p 2460.
This bylaw is not the only legislative document relating to activities in public places. Nothing in this bylaw removes the need to comply with any duty, power or responsibility arising from any other Act, regulation, bylaw or rule.
Reference to any Act or provision of any Act includes any amendment to that Act or any Act passed in substitution for it. The Local Government Act 2002 and other relevant Acts including the Reserves Act 1977, Land Transport Act 1998, Local Government Act 1974, Health Act 1956 and Litter Act 1979 outline some of the powers and requirements of the Council in regard to streets, public places and reserves. Areas of control prescribed by this legislation are not necessarily repeated within this bylaw, and therefore relevant sections of the Local Government Act 2002 and other Acts should be read in conjunction with it.
Part 1: Preliminary provisions
The purpose of this bylaw is to —
(a) manage the effects of, or behaviours associated with, certain activities that can either create a nuisance, are intimidating, threatening or impact on public safety;
(b) manage the use of public places, including reserves and beaches, by regulating against damage or misuse of structures, property and assets owned, managed or under the control of Council; and
(c) ensure that safe and accessible public places are provided for the use of everyone in the community by minimising uncontrolled use and occupation of footpaths, access ways and other public spaces.
- In this bylaw, unless the context otherwise requires, –
approval means an approval, permit or licence granted under this bylaw and includes all conditions to which the approval is subject.
assembly means a group of people gathered together in one place for a common purpose and includes a protest.
animal means any animal, including any mammal, bird, finfish, shellfish, reptile, amphibian, insect or invertebrate, and includes their young or eggs, and the carcass or its constituent parts, but does not include humans or dogs.
Dogs are excluded from this bylaw because dogs are managed under the Dog Control Bylaw.
charitable purpose has the same meaning as section 5 of the Charities Act 2005.
Council means the governing body of the Thames-Coromandel District Council, or any person delegated to act on its behalf.
large-scale assembly means an assembly that has the potential to obstruct a public place on a large scale. Examples of assemblies that may be considered large scale include but are not limited to –
(a) assemblies likely to obstruct vehicular traffic for longer than 2 minutes;
(b) assemblies likely to involve overnight occupation of a public place; or
(c) assemblies likely to obstruct neighbouring residents or premises.
market means the whole of the place and the whole of the activity that –
(a) has more than one stall at a common location;
(b) offers goods or services for sale or hire; and
(c) is for commercial or charitable purposes.
mobile trading is the activity of offering goods or services for sale from any stand, stall, structure, awning, table or vehicle that is regularly moved.
nuisance includes but is not limited to the meaning assigned to it in Section 29 of the Health Act 1956 and includes a person, animal, thing or circumstance causing unreasonable interference with the peace, comfort or convenience of another person whether or not that person is in a public place.
outdoor display of goods means the display of goods on a road, footpath or other public place adjacent to business premises, and includes any display structure.
outdoor dining means the use of a road, footpath, or other public place used by an adjacent business premise for the purpose of providing food or drink.
public place means a place that is open to or is being used by the public, whether free or on payment of a charge, and whether any owner or occupier of the place is lawfully entitled to exclude or eject any person from that place; and includes –
(a) an indoor or outdoor place or space that is owned or controlled by the Council;
(b) roads, footpaths and other areas within the road reserve;
(c) alleys, pedestrian malls, cycle tracks, walking tracks;
(d) car parks that are used by the public;
(e) reserves (as defined in the Reserves Act 1977);
(f) beaches and other outdoor places or spaces that are open to the public;
(g) any hovercraft, ship or ferry or other vessel, train or vehicle carrying or available to carry passengers for reward;
but does not include school grounds. This definition for “public place” does not:
(a) authorise the public to access land that the landowner or occupier has closed or restricted public access to; or
(b) otherwise restrict the private property rights of landowner over their own land.
reserve has the same meaning as in section 2(1) of the Reserves Act 1977.
The term “reserve” in this bylaw includes a reserve that is commonly referred to as a park.
special event means an organised temporary activity, including a gathering, parade, protest, wedding, private function (that is independent of premises), festival, concert, celebration, or sports event.
road has the same meaning as in section 2(1) of the Land Transport Act 1998 and its amendments.
stall means a stand, structure, vehicle, awning, table or temporary structure from which goods or services are offered for distribution or sale and which is erected, placed or maintained in or on a public place
stock means, cattle, sheep, horses, deer, donkeys, mules, goats, pigs, alpacas, llamas, or other animals (excluding dogs) including their young, kept in captivity, or farmed, and dependent on humans for their care and sustenance.
trading in a public place means the sale of goods or services in a public place or the offering of a commercial service for payment, reward or otherwise, including but not limited to —
(a) markets and stalls;
(b) mobile trading;
(c) outdoor dining;
(d) offering commercial services in a public place; and
(e) outdoor display of goods.
unmanned aerial vehicle means an unmanned aircraft that is piloted from a remote station and includes drones and model aircraft.
vehicle has the same meaning as in the Land Transport Act 1998.
As at 28 October 2021, the Land Transport Act 1998 defines ‘vehicle’ as:
(a) means a contrivance equipped with wheels, tracks, or revolving runners on which it moves or is moved; and
(b) includes a hovercraft, a skateboard, in-line skates, and roller skates; but
(c) does not include—
(i) a perambulator or pushchair:
(ii) a shopping or sporting trundler not propelled by mechanical power:
(iii) a wheelbarrow or hand-trolley:
(v) a pedestrian-controlled lawnmower:
(vi) a pedestrian-controlled agricultural machine not propelled by mechanical power:
(vii) an article of furniture:
(viii) a wheelchair not propelled by mechanical power:
(ix) any other contrivance specified by the rules not to be a vehicle for the purposes of this definition:
(x) any rail vehicle
vehicle crossing means a vehicle entrance formed to provide access to any premises from the carriageway of the public street or road fronting those premises, and includes any crossing constructed over a footpath, kerb, berm, water channel or drain.
(2) The Legislation Act 2019 applies to this bylaw.
This means that words or phrases used in this bylaw that are defined in the Legislation Act 2019 have the meanings given in that Act. For example–
- section 13 of that Act defines “person” as "includes a corporation sole, a body corporate, and an unincorporated body"; and
- section 33 of that Act states that words in the singular include the plural and words in the plural include the singular.
Part 2: Public safety, nuisances and general behaviour
7 General public safety and nuisances
(1) A person must not use a public place to obstruct, disturb, interfere with, alarm, distress, intimidate or harm any other person in that other person’s use or enjoyment of that public place. This includes when –
(a) asking for any subscription, collection or donation;
(b) distributing any material;
(c) engaging in busking or street entertainment; or
The Summary Offences Act 1981 enables the New Zealand Police to address more serious instances of obstruction, intimidation, disorderly and offensive behaviour or language in public places.
(2) A person in a public place must not cause a nuisance by making any loud or disruptive noise. This includes (but is not limited to) –
(a) the use or playing of any instrument (musical or otherwise)
(b) the use of a public address system or an amplified sound system.
(3) A person in a public place must not use any material or object recklessly or in a way that may intimidate, be dangerous, be injurious or cause a nuisance to any other person. This includes (but is not limited to) the use of skateboards, roller skates, in-line skates, scooters or similar recreational devices.
Rule 11.1 of the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 allows for mobility devices and “wheeled recreational devices” (which includes skateboards, scooters and roller skates) to use the footpath, provided that the users:
- are careful and considerate;
- don’t travel at a speed that constitutes a hazard to other footpath users;
- of wheeled recreational devices, give way to pedestrians and drivers of mobility scooters.
Under Rule 11.1 of the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004, bicycles, e-bicycles and other cycles are not permitted on the footpath but can use cycle paths, cycle lanes and the road. They can use shared paths if the Council has permitted it.
The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (including drones) on reserves is also managed under 3.11 of the Council’s General Policies Reserve Management Plan.
(1) In the case of a large-scale assembly, a person involved in organising such an assembly must notify the Council at least 2 working days prior to the planned date of the large-scale assembly. Notification must be in writing.
(2) Any person involved in an assembly must comply with all other applicable clauses of this bylaw (including but not limited to Clause 7, Clause 9 and Clause 10); regardless of the scale of the assembly, and regardless of whether the organisers have notified the Council of the assembly. Any person involved in an assembly must also comply with other relevant legislation.
Prior notification of a large-scale assembly is required to enable the Council to work through any necessary logistics to manage traffic safety or other similar matters.
Information on how to notify the Council under Clause 8 is available on the Council’s website.
Anti-abortion protesting is managed under the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion (Safe Areas) Amendment Act 2022.
9 Obstructing public places
(1) A person must not erect, construct, place, leave or abandon any object, vehicle, material or structure in a public place that is likely to cause a safety risk, nuisance, damage, obstruction, disturbance, or interference to any other person in their use or enjoyment of that public place. This includes (but is not limited to) —
(a) erecting a structure on Council owned or controlled land;
(b) allowing any gate or door adjoining a public place to swing over or across the public place or any part of a public place except for the purposes of entering or leaving the property; or
(c) allowing vegetation to encroach over a public place in a manner that may cause a nuisance to any person or an obstruction to traffic (pedestrian and vehicular).
(2) A person must not obstruct the entrances to or exits from a public place.
(3) The restrictions in this clause do not apply to any verandah or awning erected in accordance with a requirement of a district plan (as defined in the Resource Management Act 1991) provided that any such projection or obstruction has been placed against or in front of any building before the commencement of this bylaw. Existing verandahs may be retained, unless the Council gives written notice to the owner or occupier of such building to remove, or to alter the projection or obstruction. If the Council gives a notice to that effect, the owner or occupier shall, within the time stated in such notice, remove or alter the projection or obstruction.
For public places that are reserves, the following parts of the Council’s General Policies Reserve Management Plan apply in addition to Clause 9:
- structures on reserves must also comply with 4.2 of the Council’s General Policies Reserve Management Plan; and
- encroachments onto reserves are prohibited under 7.3 of the Council’s General Policies Reserve Management Plan.
10 Damage to public places
(1) A person must not cause damage on or to a public place by —
(a) damaging, defacing, removing, disturbing or interfering with any property or infrastructure under the control of the Council including any structure, furniture, equipment, object, surface, natural feature or material including rock, shingle sand or sand dune, or any form of vegetation including but not limited to trees, gardens, flower beds, grass plots and shrubbery; or
(b) erecting or depositing any structure, object, material, substance or thing;
unless that person has a prior approval from Council.
(2) A person must not remove, cut, or prune any vegetation in a public place without prior permission from the landowner, whether Council or other landowner;
(3) Sub-clauses (1) and (2) do not prevent any person from maintaining the grass verge on any road adjacent to their premises.
The Summary Offences Act 1981 prohibits intentional or reckless damage to property, and graffiti vandalism, tagging, defacing etc. The Summary Offences Act 1981 is enforced by the New Zealand Police.
The Crimes Act 1961 prohibits theft of property. The Crimes Act 1961 is also enforced by the New Zealand Police.
The Reserves Act 1977, at section 94(1), prohibits a person from doing the following on a reserve –
- planting any tree, shrub, or plant of any kind; or
- sowing or scattering the seed of any tree, shrub, or plant of any kind; or
- introducing any substance injurious to plant life; or
- breaking or damaging any fence, building, apparatus, or erection; or
- removing or damaging any, or any part of any, wood, tree, shrub, fern, plant, stone, mineral, gravel, kauri gum, furniture, utensil, tool, protected New Zealand object, relic, or thing of any kind; or
- digging, cutting, or excavating the soil; or
- erecting any building, sign, hoarding, or apparatus on any reserve; or
- interfering or damaging in any way the recreational, scenic, historic, scientific, or natural features or the flora and fauna in the reserve;
without permission from the reserve’s administering body.
A person must not discharge a firework in a public place unless the following conditions are satisfied -
(a) the landowner approves the firework discharge;
(b) the firework discharge is fully compliant with relevant legislation, regulations, codes, permits for pyrotechnic displays; and
(c) a licensed pyrotechnic technician is employed to organise and implement the firework discharge.
Outdoor pyrotechnic displays require the following –
- an Outdoor pyrotechnic display compliance certificate from WorkSafe New Zealand, and
- an Outdoor pyrotechnic display written agreement from Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
12 Vehicle crossings
(1) A person must not construct, repair, remove or widen any vehicle crossing unless that person has obtained an approval from the Council before undertaking any works.
Clauses 16 to 19 of the bylaw provide more detail on the approvals process.
Visit the Council’s website for information on how to apply to construct a vehicle crossing.
(2) If in the opinion of the Council, any vehicle crossing is in a poor or unsafe state of repair, Council may by notice in writing, require the owner of the land to which the vehicle crossing provides access, to: repair, reconstruct, or renew such vehicle crossing to the satisfaction of Council. Every such owner or occupier who fails to comply with any such notice within the period specified commits an offence against this bylaw.
(3) For the avoidance of doubt, this clause does not apply to vehicle crossings on state highways, as Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Authority is responsible for vehicle crossings on state highways.
Under section 335 of the Local Government Act 1974 –
- the Council can require payment from the landowner or occupier for the construction of a suitable vehicle crossing;
- the landowner or occupier can object to a Council requirement for payment for a vehicle crossing;
- the Council may construct a vehicle crossing itself; and
- the Council may remove a vehicle crossing that the Council deems no longer necessary.
Under Section 357 of the Local Government Act 1974, a person who installs an unauthorised vehicle crossing commits an offence and may be prosecuted.
13 Additional requirements for reserves and beaches owned or controlled by Council
(1) This clause only applies to reserves and beaches owned or controlled by the Council.
(2) Council may from time to time and for such periods as it deems fit, set aside areas of a reserve or beach, for the exclusive use of particular groups or for particular kinds of recreational activities. Council may charge for the exclusive use of any part of a reserve or beach and may impose conditions on the exclusive use as it thinks fit.
The Council’s General Policies Reserve Management Plan provides additional direction on –
- private ceremonies on reserves; and
- occupation agreements for reserves (leases, licences and permits).
(3) Council may close or restrict entry to all of, or any portion of a reserve or beach at such times as are considered reasonably necessary to ensure public safety or prevent damage to or allow maintenance of the reserve or beach. Such closure will be advertised by signs at entrances. A person may not remain in or enter a reserve or beach that is closed.
Part 3: Animals in public places
14 Animals in public places
(1) A person may only take animals into, on or over a public place where it is safe to do so and does not cause a nuisance to other users of that public place or a hazard to traffic.
(2) Any person having control of animals in a public place may be required to remove and appropriately dispose of any manure deposited in a public place.
(3) Any person having control of animals in a public place must ensure that the animals are kept under proper control.
(4) The keeping of bees or grazing of stock in a public place is only permitted with the prior approval from the Council, which may impose such controls and fees as it so determines. A Council approval could take the form of a grazing lease or licence issued under the Reserves Act 1977.
(5) For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in this clause affects a person’s obligation to comply with the Council’s reserve management plans or the Reserves Act 1977.
The Reserves Act 1977 prohibits a person from causing or allowing an animal to trespass on a reserve; or from liberating an animal on a reserve.
The Council’s Reserve Management Plans also manage animals on reserves. Under 3.16 of the General Policies Reserve Management Plan, horses may only be ridden on reserves –
- within areas specifically designated for horses; or
- where access to the beach is through vehicle points and boat ramps that are on a reserve, horses may be ridden on the reserve for the purpose of accessing the beach.
(6) No person shall drive any stock on any road during the period between half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise unless sufficient warning is provided and maintained by such person by the use of lights or other effective devices or means to ensure that other persons using such road shall have adequate notice of the presence of such animals on the road.
Part 4: Trading in public places
Please refer to the definition of trading in a public place in the Interpretation Clause of this bylaw for types of activities covered under this section. Trading activities not requiring an approval must comply with all other relevant provisions in this bylaw and other relevant bylaws.
15 Approval required
(1) A person must not engage in the sale of goods or services in a public place without having first obtained an approval from Council, unless an exception in sub-clause (2) applies.
Outdoor dining, outdoor display of goods, and mobile trading require an approval under this clause. More information on outdoor dining and outdoor display of goods can be viewed on the Council’s website.
Refer to Clauses 16 to 19 for more detail on the approvals process.
(2) The following activities do not require an approval under sub-clause (1) –
(a) an activity that has a Commercial Operator’s Licence from Council and is complying with the conditions of that Licence;
Many commercial activities on Council owned or controlled reserves require a Commercial Operator’s Licence. More information on Commercial Operator’s Licences can be viewed on the Council’s website.
(b) any trading in a public place that has a current approval under any other bylaw, legislation, resource consent or permit of Council and is complying with the conditions of that approval;
(c) service delivery vehicles;
(d) any market, stall or stand which is run by Council for the benefit of the community;
(e) busking or street performance;
(f) fundraising for a charitable purpose, soliciting of any subscription or collection of any one-off or ongoing donation; or
(g) distribution of any promotional goods or materials.
Part 5: Approvals process
16 Approval applications
(1) A person who requires an approval under this bylaw (‘the applicant’) must apply to the Council for an approval and the application must be –
(a) in the form required by the Council; and
(b) accompanied by the relevant application fee set in the Council’s Schedule of Fees and Charges.
The Council’s Schedule of Fees and Charges can be read on the Council’s website.
(2) An application is not treated as having been made until all the provisions in this clause have been complied with.
(3) The Council may exercise its discretion to grant or decline an application for an approval, having regard to any matter it considers relevant and reasonably necessary to determine the application in relation to the purpose of this bylaw.
(4) An applicant may withdraw their application at any time before a decision is made, but any fee paid with the application will not be refundable unless the Council, in its absolute discretion, decides a refund, or partial refund, is reasonable in the circumstances.
(5) Approvals are not transferable to another person.
(6) An approval does not affect or limit the obligations of any person to comply with any legislation or regulatory requirements that apply to the matters covered by the approval.
(7) Any fees paid for the approval are not refundable if the Council declines, suspends or cancels the approval unless the Council, in its absolute discretion, decides a refund, or partial refund, is reasonable in the circumstances.
17 Conditions on approval
(1) All approvals granted under this bylaw include a condition that enables the Council to carry out inspections to ensure the approval, its conditions and the provisions of the bylaw are being complied with.
(2) The Council may include other conditions on any approval for the following matters –
(a) the duration of the approval and how the approval may be renewed, if at all;
(b) in the case of a vehicle crossing approval issued by the Council under Clause 12.1, such conditions concerning vehicle crossing bonds, dimensions and materials as the Council may consider reasonably necessary to protect the road adjacent to the vehicle crossing, and to ensure safe and convenient use of the road by pedestrians and vehicles;
(c) in the case of an approval for trading in a public place under Clause 15, any of the conditions listed in Schedule 1 of this bylaw;
(d) require payment of a bond or other security;
(e) require that the applicant has suitable insurance in place;
(f) any other matter the Council considers is necessary to achieve the purpose of this bylaw; or
(g) pay any fees specified in the Council’s Schedule of Fees and Charges.
The Council’s Schedule of Fees and Charges can be read on the Council’s website.
18 Amendment of approval
A person granted an approval may, at any time within the duration of the approval, apply to the Council to amend the approval or its conditions. An application for amendment must be made in the same manner as an application for an approval, with any necessary modifications.
19 Suspending or cancelling approval
(1) The Council may exercise its discretion to suspend or cancel an approval if it considers that –
(a) any conditions are not complied with; or
(b) the suspension or cancellation is necessary to achieve the purpose of this bylaw.
(2) The suspension or cancellation takes effect from the date the person who was granted the approval receives written notice of the Council’s decision to suspend or cancel the approval. The notice must include the reasons for the Council’s decision.
(3) Suspending or cancelling an approval does not affect the Council’s powers to take other enforcement action under this bylaw or any other legislation for the acts or omissions that were the reasons for the suspension or cancellation.
(1) The person who –
(a) made an application to Council under Clause 16 that the Council declined; or
(b) was granted an approval that is suspended or cancelled under Clause 19;
may object to the Council about the decision to decline, suspend or cancel by lodging an objection in writing within 20 working days after the date of the decision to decline, or the date of the suspension or cancellation.
(2) The Council will make a decision on an objection within 20 working days of the date the objection is received and will provide the decision, in writing, to the applicant. The decision must include the reasons for the decision.
21 Failure to comply with an approval
(1) This clause applies to a person who has been granted an approval under this bylaw who –
(a) fails to comply with the approval, including any condition of an approval; or
(b) provided inaccurate information in any application for an approval which materially influenced the decision made on the application.
(2) The Council may take any one or more of the following actions against a person to whom this clause applies –
(a) issue a written warning which may be used as evidence of a bylaw breach during any subsequent consideration of an approval or enforcement action;
(b) review the approval, which may result in its amendment, suspension or cancellation;
(c) claim on or under any bond, security or insurance; or
(d) use the statutory powers listed in Part 6.
Part 6: Enforcement, offences and penalties
22 Enforcement, offences and penalties
(1) Every person who breaches this bylaw commits an offence and is liable to a penalty under the prevailing legislation.
(2) The Council may, pursuant to section 163 of the Local Government Act 2002, remove or alter a work or thing that is, or has been, constructed in breach of this bylaw and may recover the costs of removal or alteration from the person who committed the breach.
(3) This clause does not prevent the Council from having recourse to other legal remedies, as it sees fit, to enforce the provisions of this bylaw.
A person who is convicted of an offence against this bylaw is liable to one or more of the following –
- a fine not exceeding $20,000 under section 242 of the Local Government Act 2002 (as reprinted on 26 March 2020);
- a fine not exceeding $1,000 under Schedule 1 of the Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999; or
- a fine not exceeding $500 and, in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding $50 for every day on which the offence has continued, under section 66 of the Health Act 1956.
Section 176 of the Local Government Act 2002 states that:
(1) A person who has been convicted of an offence against a bylaw is liable to pay to the local authority concerned the costs of remedying any damage caused in the course of committing the offence.
(2) The costs must be assessed by a District Court Judge and are recoverable as if they were a fine.
(3) Costs recoverable under this section are in addition to any penalty for which the person who committed the offence is liable.
Part 7: Savings and transitional provisions
23 Approvals under a previous version of this bylaw
All approvals that were made, given or issued under a previous version of this bylaw, or that were continued by that bylaw, and are continuing at the commencement of this bylaw, will be treated as if they are approvals granted by the Council under this bylaw.
Schedule 1: Conditions for Trading in public places
This Schedule relates to an approval issued as required under Part 4, and using the process set out in Part 5.
An approval for trading in a public place may include any of the following conditions –
(1) Designated times of operation (hours and days) including limitations on the hours of set up and pack down.
(2) Duration of the approval.
(3) Location of the activity, taking into account the surrounding land uses, street layout and the minimum clear widths of footpaths required for access.
(4) Requirement that the activity is not located in a way that is likely to cause a nuisance, unreasonable obstruction, or hazard to other users of the space and for access.
(5) That a continuous accessible path is provided for.
(6) Safety, health and hygiene requirements.
(7) Requiring compliance with or provision of a traffic management plan and/or waste management and minimisation plan.
(8) Specifications on the use of furniture, structures, equipment, articles, signs, vehicles and any other items associated with the activity.
(9) Requirement for public liability insurance.
(10) Restrictions on the use of amplified music/sound.
(11) Requiring compliance with other Council policies, plans, bylaws or controls (including but not limited to, a district plan or reserve management plan) and any other applicable Act or regulation (including but not limited to hygiene and food safety requirements).
(12) Any other conditions reasonably required to appropriately mitigate any adverse impact on local businesses or the local environment arising or likely to arise from the activity.