Many of us have been in the situation where we buy tickets for something, and then can't attend. Once upon a time you'd give the tickets away to friends.
Since the popularisation of the Internet, there has been an alternative. You can try to find someone who wants your tickets - by email, or through Facebook, or you can auction them to strangers on Trade Me.
Thousands of New Zealanders have auctioned tickets on Trade Me. There are 584 auctions currently listed.
The Dominion Post reported today that Trevor Mallard sold four tickets to the Homegrown music festival for $656, having paid $380 for them, hence a nice tidy $276 profit. The MP declined an offer of $500 for them, and refused to set a "buy now" price for them. He has since claimed he doesn't know how to set a "buy now" price.
Now making a profit on reselling event tickets is prohibited by law only for certain major events such as the Rugby World Cup. It is not illegal to do so for a local concert. It is, however, a breach of the terms and conditions of the sale contract, if they include a prohibition (which almost all events do).
As I said, this is a condition that many, many New Zealanders ignore or breach. I's probably seen in the same light as restrictions on file-sharing over the Internet. So is there an issue, if the law has not been broken?
Well yes there is. MPs are absolutely expected to hold themselves to a higher standard than other citizens. Almost all the recent resignations from Parliament have been for ethical reasons, not because a law was broken.
Quite simply it is a very bad look for an MP to be making $276 at the expense of others. A novice first-term MP should know this, let alone an MP first elected in the 1980s. Let me quote the words of the minister who passed the Major Events Management Bill:
The bill also bans ticket scalping, which is the on-sale of major events' tickets for a price greater than the original sale price. Ticket scalping can dramatically increase the price of tickets, and can potentially put attendance at major events further out of the reach of many New Zealanders.
That Minister was Trevor Mallard. Now to have sponsored such a law and then auction tickets off for a music festival is an act of extreme political ill judgment. Even worse, Mallard also auctioned off tickets in three of the last four years.
Now it is accepted that he did not buy the tickets for the purposes of resale, and that the actions were not illegal. But it remains a bad look - especially the refusal to accept an offer of $500 for them, as that indicates a desire to maximise profits at the expense of someone else. This is entirely acceptable behaviour for most people - but not a great look for a representative of a party that argues people should be placed before profits.
As a blogger, I'm a semi-public figure. I bought 10 tickets to the Sevens a couple of weekends ago. A few days beforehand, two of our group pulled out. I could have auctioned the tickets on Trade Me, and made a nice profit as some tickets were going for a $200 mark-up. But I knew it would be a bad look to be publicly identified as profiting from the fact I managed to get tickets early, so I sold them at cost on Facebook.
The amount of profit made at $276 is fairly trifling. But as Tuku Morgan found out with his $89 underpants, the public can often relate better to a small amount, than to issues with amounts in the millions.
Post a comment