Council seeks to capture e-scooters in public places bylaw review

by Kim Bowden - Apr 04, 2023

There's a new kid on the block the council needs to consider as it reviews its rules for what’s the go in public spaces across the district.

Micro-mobility devices – it’s a flash name for bicycles and scooters and other lightweight, usually single-person, vehicles.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council’s Activities in Public Places Bylaw guides how public spaces are used in order to protect the community from activities that could cause a nuisance.

And it’s under review now.

The current bylaw does not specifically provide for the relatively new activity of commercial hire of micro-mobility devices, a council spokesperson says.

One of the amendments proposed by the council includes changing the definition of “trading activity” to include it.

Last year councillors gave go-ahead for a two-year trial by Beam of its purple, for-hire e-scooters.

For now, Beam’s operating model relies on partnering with local businesses, such as hotels and cafes, so its scooters are parked up on private land.

Beam’s roll-out didn’t trigger any consideration of the bylaw as it stands, or as the proposed draft stands.

“However, we anticipate that future commercial e-scooter operators are likely to want to operate in public places so the proposed amendments, that is changing the definition of ‘trading activity’ to include the commercial hire of micro-mobility devices in public places, would then apply,” the spokesperson says.

The amendment will mean the council will require commercial operators obtain a permit, which may have specific conditions, before setting up shop.

Kiwi-owned Flamingo Scooters has previously confirmed to Crux it’s eyeing up the Southern Lakes for its e-scooter hires, and it wants them parked up and ready to use in public spaces.

The council says other proposed amendments to the public spaces bylaw include specifying certain public places where trading activities and busking is permitted, and amending the current ban on the distribution of leaflets, to prevent litter. 

The bylaw is one of two dictating what can happen in public spaces under review and which the council is seeking public feedback on.

The other is the Alcohol Restrictions in Public Places Bylaw, and it’s proposing more freedom to have a drink in the open in Frankton, Arrowtown and Hāwea, while tightening up controls over the summer festive period.

QLDC regulatory manager Anthony Hall says the bylaws are important tools for ensuring public spaces remain safe and accessible for everyone. 

“Our shared places are where people meet, engage with one another, and form community. That’s why public feedback on these bylaws is vital – it gives us valuable insight into how the community feels about our public places. 

“We’ve seen a lot of change across the district since these bylaws were introduced. Proposed amendments have been shaped by community feedback and suggestions, and we’re now asking for formal submissions on both.”   

Keen to have a say? More information on submitting on either of the draft bylaws can be found online at or at council offices and libraries. 

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