Mallard sells festival tickets online at profit

JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 15:42 16/02/2012
Homegrown tickets
ANDREW GORRIE/FAIRFAX NZ
PRICEY EVENT: Nick Potts, Laura Signal and Stuart Garner bought tickets for this weekend's Homegrown event from Trevor Mallard and paid a lot more than face value. There is nothing illegal in on-selling tickets.

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Labour MP Trevor Mallard says he has offered to refund the cost of tickets he sold to a group of Wellington students after a furore over the profit he made from flogging them off on TradeMe.

Mr Mallard sold four tickets to the sold-out Homegrown festival at a $276 profit.

Mr Mallard said this afternoon he had left a message with Whitireia music student Laura Signal offering to refund the money but had not heard back.

He said would be happy to give the tickets away to some deserving students if Signal took him up on the offer.

Mr Mallard has become the butt of jokes on Trade Me in response to criticism ver the ticket scalping.

Mr Mallard has come under fire for selling four tickets to the sold-out Homegrown festival at a $276 profit.

One auction selling Mr Mallard's 'conscience in a jar' has a current bid of $1.50: 'This item is second-hand but is brand new and has never been used. I have to be honest I'm not sure that it is in working order as it is rather old and I have seen no evidence of it being used in recent times or whenever the Homegrown concert rolls around''.

 Another auction offers 'Trevor Mallard's credibility and a pen' and says proceeds from the auction will go to the Christchurch earthquake appeal.

Mr Mallard's TradeMe account shows he has been a member of the online auction site since 2005, and has sold plenty of tickets in the past.

These include a Wellington Sevens ticket in 2009, two Homegrown tickets in 2009, four Homegrown tickets last year, and a ticket to the Canada vs USA ice hockey match in Christchurch last year.

Mr Mallard told The Dominion Post yesterday that the recent sale was neither scalping nor dodgy. He bought the tickets last year but now had another engagement.

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"I'm slightly surprised if promoters with whom I spend several hundred dollars a year on tickets complain when I sell some I can't use to someone who wants them using a Kiwi-based online auction."

He listed the tickets at face value, but let the auction run above $500 because he "knew that they were worth more".

Ms Signal, 19, and her three friends were desperate to attend so they bid for four tickets on Trade Me, paying a final price of $656.

Miss Signal was surprised when the trader turned out to be the Hutt South MP, who used his parliamentary email address for the auction.

She and her friends went to Mr Mallard's Naenae office to collect the tickets from him in person.

"He came out and gave us the package really quickly and he kept saying: 'It's not what it looks like; it's not what it looks like,' to random passers-by."

Mr Mallard initiated anti-scalping legislation in 2006 – now the Major Events Management Act 2007 – to protect event sponsors from people making money out of major events with which they had no formal association.

"This is not one of those and if they didn't like it they shouldn't have bought it....I'm a bit pissed off, it was a private agreement."

Homegrown is not covered by the legislation and there is nothing illegal in on-selling tickets. Homegrown director Mark Wright said was up to Mr Mallard to decide whether he believed it was "appropriate behaviour".

On-selling was a problem the festival organisers faced every year once tickets sold out.

"They are profiteering off the work that my team and I are putting in to it. What can I do about it? We set a ticket price that we see as a fair price."

IT'S LEGAL

Trade Me allows the on-selling of event tickets after a poll showed 81 per cent of its traders in support.

The Major Events Management Act was passed in 2007, and was initiated by Trevor Mallard while he was economic development minister in 2006.

It protects events such as the Rugby World Cup, the World Rowing Championships and the 2015 Cricket World Cup from scalpers and ambush marketing. It is illegal for tickets to be on-sold for such events under this act.

Related story:

Mallard gets ribbing over ticket 'scalping'

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