City buskers still require permit to perform

City buskers still require permit to perform

Buskers will continue to need a licence before they can play on the city’s streets. PHOTO: KEVIN STENT

Buskers will still be required to apply for a permit to perform on Wellington’s city streets.

The city strategy committee passed at the opportunity to remove the need for a permit in its 10-year review of the Public Places Bylaw.

The bylaw currently requires buskers to hold a Wellington City Council Street Performance license.

Councillor Iona Pannett said she did not think it should be up to the council to determine who performs on the city’s streets.

“I have a bit of nervousness round still including permission to busk [in the bylaw]. I don’t personally think council bureaucrats should be deciding if someone has artistic merit or not and there is a much larger debate [to be had].

“Back in 2004, I was one of the people to lead the charge against a very restrictive public places bylaw, things like getting permission to set up a stall to hand out political pamphlets – that was a bit over the top.”

However, Councillor Brian Dawson argued that talent was not the reason why buskers should be required to hold a license.

“Having some limited control over our increasingly crowded footpath is the point. If we have some form of permit, we have some form of control albeit limited. Free-range busking is asking for a little bit of trouble and in the past has provided that trouble for us. So, I have no problem with the bylaw as it stands.”

Currently, laws surrounding busking fall under part 5 of the Wellington Consolidated Bylaw 2008.

The council’s footpath management policy requires aspiring buskers to apply for a licence and ensure their performances do not affect public safety, nor interfere with pedestrian or traffic flow, business activity, or residential living. Licenses are valid for 12 months.

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