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Mallard defends ticket 'scalping'

Published: 2:10PM Thursday February 16, 2012 Source: ONE News

Labour MP Trevor Mallard is defending selling four tickets to a popular music festival on Trade Me.

Mallard, who was responsible for introducing anti-scalping laws in time for the Rugby World Cup when Labour was in power, has faced questions after he sold four tickets to the Homegrown music festival for $656, approximately $250 more than the purchase price.

The group of teenagers who bought the tickets to the concert, held near Wellington, said the MP used his parliamentary email address for the auction.

Mallard told ONE News that, like selling a house, he sees no problem if he makes a profit from selling tickets.   

"I'm struggling to see the difference in principle between tickets and houses. I think that people should not, because they happen to be MPs, be forced to sell things more cheaply."

Smaller events like Homegrown and the Sevens are not affected by the scalping laws, which Mallard says were designed to prevent people buying tickets with the intention of selling them for profit. He says the laws were a condition of New Zealand winning the right to host the tournament.

One bidder asked to do a "buy now", offering $500. Mallard responded, saying "I will let your auction run. And I think your price is cheeky."

Mallard told ONE News that at the time bidding for a set of four tickets was running at more than $600 on another Trade Me auction, and therefore the value of his tickets was more.

He said that it was also his understanding that it was against Trade Me's terms and conditions to sell the tickets once the auction was running.

However he's rejected the claim that as an MP he shouldn't sell the tickets for profit, calling himself a kiwi who likes music. He says he frequently buys tickets to events, and occasionally will sell them online when he can't make it.

His Trade Me profile shows that he's previously sold tickets to the Wellington Sevens and ice hockey. The tickets have always been paid for, rather than complimentary.

"I would never sell a freebie," Mallard told ONE News.

Mallard says he has never used the 'Buy Now' function on Trade Me, preferring a 'simple approach', but says in the future he will sell tickets for their purchase price. 

"I don't see that there is a problem, I think that because of all the fuss, in the future - when it happens, because it will happen again - I will use the buy now feature because that will remove the complication of the profit."

Laura Signal, 19, said she was surprised when the trader turned out to be the Hutt South MP.

She and her friends went to 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."