The following is a brief guide to rules about signs including those:
- on private or public property
- for permanent or temporary events
- by commercial or community groups.
As updates get made to the District Plan, it's best to first check with the Council about any new rules that would apply to your sign:
Permissions and consents
Definition of a sign
The District Plan defines a sign as:
- any name, figure, image, character, outline, spectacle, display, delineation, announcement, poster, handbill, or an advertising device, appliance, or things of a similar advertising nature intended mainly to attract attention, and
- placed on or fixed to any land or building, or incorporated in the design of any building (whether by painting or otherwise), and
- visible from a public space. This excludes signs within buildings and signs for the management of the legal road.
District Plan rules
For a summary of types of signs and rules in the District Plan, read:
There are also other bylaws and national legislation covering signs in public places.
If you want to advertise a party, candidate, or referendum during an electioneering period, you are required to obtain Council permission before erecting any signage on public land in the Wellington District.
Permission to place signage on public land will be issued to the applicant in writing upon approval and will show the distinct Council-approved sites where signs may be placed.
Lodging an application does not constitute approval.
Apply for Council permission to erect 2020 General Election signage on public land
Apply online – Election signage
Reference documents for election signage:
If you’re unsure whether a location is public or private, you can refer to boundary lines on our Property web map , or, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be happy to look it up for you.
On private property
Generally, you do not need Council permission to put up signage on private property, as this is 'permitted as of right'. You just need permission from the property owner.
Examples of signage commonly placed on private property include real estate signs, election signs, and construction signs.
For some private-property, locations you may have to get permission from both the Council and landowner because of the zone the sign is in, for example, city or residential areas, rural or suburban centres. If you’re unsure, please contact email@example.com.
On public property
Real estate signage
Council strictly prohibits real estate signage of any kind (including open home picket signs) to be placed on public land or assets, for example, fences, poles, roadside berms, etc. Real estate signage must always be placed on private property.
If your for-sale home has no street visibility, we will consider granting an exception. To find out more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
General commercial signage
Council does not allow commercial-advertising signage on public land or assets. If you wish to put up signage to advertise your business, it must be placed on private property.
Alternatively, you could contact Phantom Billstickers or Shout Media to pay for billboard advertising, or you could apply for a sandwich board license to place a single sign onto the public footpath. Conditions apply.
Non-profit/community event signage
If you wish to advertise your non-profit or community event (e.g., fundraiser, book fair, pop-up market, etc.), you may put up temporary signage:
- only after obtaining a Council-issued permit; and,
- only at Council’s approved signage sites (you may select up to seven).
View Community signage sites map (non-election) (9.4MB PDF)
When we approve your application, we will provide you with clear instructions on where your signs can be put up.
Apply online - Temporary signage permit
For more information on our signage rules, please refer to our Guidelines for temporary signs in public places (149KB PDF)
On private property
You are allowed signs relating to non-residential activity, but you will need to supply the Council with details about the signs in your resource consent application.
On public property
You will need approval from the Council and the landowner. Landowner consent is normally obtained through an encroachment licence, regardless of what type of public property it is on (eg road, reserve or housing property). Encroachment licence fees may apply.
As a general rule, we do not permit the use of flag signs on the public road corridor (such as footpath, berm, etc.). This is mainly because they add additional clutter to public space and pose accessibility issues for pedestrians, especially those with visual impairments.
Flags are also a safety hazard in that they can blow around in Wellington’s heavy winds and potentially hit unsuspecting pedestrians.
You may place flag signage on your own private property. If you do, and the flag overhangs above public footpath/land, the entirety of the flag must be at least 2.5 metres above the ground.
While we do not allow flags on the footpath/road corridor, you may advertise your business with a sandwich board.
Before putting posters up in public places, you need to get the property owner's or the Council's permission if it's on Council-owned land or fixtures.
Places where you can't put posters
Council property where you can't put up posters include:
- public street furniture
- poster bollards and holders (contact Phantom Billstickers - see below)
- signal cabinets
- bus shelters (contact Adshel)
What you can get permission for
Posters for community and charity events
Posters on poles for community and charity events may be permitted - contact the Council to discuss.
Central business district and suburban centres
If you want to put posters up on the Council's poster bollards and pole poster holders in the central business district and suburban centres, contact the Council's contractor, Phantom Billstickers.
Phantom Billstickers can sort out whether you can put your posters up there, and if they can be put up for free or if a management fee applies.
More information about posters