'Lottery' ticket system unfair, says mother

MATT STEWART
Last updated 05:00 09/06/2014
Pop fan Olive Northrop
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ
KATY, NEARLY: Pop fan Olive Northrop is disappointed she won’t be able to celebrate her 10th birthday seeing her idol Katy Perry in concert.

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Scalpers are being blamed for dashing two girls' dreams of seeing their idol Katy Perry, with tickets sold out but still available online for pumped up prices.

Michelle Hilliard, of Wellington, said her daughter Amelia, 7, was mad about the American pop star who is due to hold two concerts at Auckland's Vector Arena in December as part of her world tour.

Just days after Hilliard told Amelia she would take her to the next Perry show, the singer announced she would play in Auckland. Hilliard set about acquiring pre-sale tickets, which range from $39.90 for a spot on the floor to $199.90 for premium seats.

Hilliard was trying to get four tickets for her, friend Kirstie Northrop and her daughter Olive, who is friends with Amelia.

Despite assembling a team of family members manning computers and phones for three days last week they missed out as tickets for both shows quickly sold out.

"We were there at 9am, it was systems go. It was like a hacking operation," Hilliard said. She was told by retailers Ticketmaster that getting tickets was "a lottery", a system she said was unfair

As of yesterday about 10 tickets were being sold on Trade Me with bids reaching as high as $500.

"Should buying tickets be like a lottery? They're scalpers. It doesn't seem like a level playing field."

For Olive, the tickets were to have been a 10th birthday present. She said yesterday she had been a Perry fan "forever".

Although she was disappointed she understood why her mother was not willing to spend money on inflated ticket prices.

"The tickets are too expensive and too hard to find," Olive said.

Aside from a handful of government-regulated events - such as the 2011 Rugby World Cup - on-selling tickets for a profit is legal. Trade Me spokesman Paul Ford said the issue was not as straightforward as just plain scalping.

"In terms of the moral position, the reasons for sale can vary from one person to another. For example Person X might be selling them to make 100 bucks, but Person Y might be selling them because they got sick or broke a leg, and Person Z might be selling them because his mate bought him a ticket and he already had one.

"The point here is that we're not into making moral judgments about members," Ford said.

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