Mallard the scalper

Jody O’Callaghan writes at Stuff:

Labour MP has been accused of tickets to a Wellington music festival.

The tickets to Saturday’s sold-out Homegrown festival have a face value of $95 each.

Whitireia music student Laura 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.

You wonder how Trevor finds the time to be an MP in-between cycling and scalping.

The students said they asked Mr Mallard about a “buy now” price during the auction, but he replied that he would let the auction run.

Some may condemn Trevor forcing poor struggling students to pay more, so that he makes a profit on top of his $170,000 or so parliamentary remuneration, but I think it is great to see a Labour MP show his commitment to free markets and  profits.

In November 2006, Mr Mallard initiated legislation – 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.

He said at the time: “When there is bulk-buying of tickets to such events simply for the purpose of profiteering, scalping is a ripoff that could deny many people the opportunity to see an event.”

No, no, no. Scalping is not a rip off. What is wrong with a 60% return on capital?

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

“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”.

I purchased ten tickets for the Sevens this year. Two people in our group pulled out a few days beforehand. I sold the tickets at face value via Facebook as I didn’t want to make money out of them – just get reimbursed for the cost.

He believed the students had breached his privacy by revealing him as the ticket trader.

Hmmn, threatening the students. Perhaps Trevor could specify what part of the Privacy Act he alleges they have breached?

The Herald story on the same issue finds Trevor also scalped tickets in 2009 and 2010 for the same event.

UPDATE: A thought has occurred to me. It is curious that for three of the last four years Trevor has been auctioning tickets for Homegrown on Trade Me. It is possible he does not in fact buy the tickets, but they are complementary tickets given to local MPs? Can any other local MPs clarify whether they get complementary tickets?

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