Big Day Out wants scalping protection

By Claire Trevett

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The promoter of the Big Day Out wants an anti-scalping bill for sports occasions to be extended to large-scale musical events so concertgoers can be protected too.

The Major Events Management Bill targets ticket scalpers, by outlawing onsale of tickets for more than their original price and setting a $5000 fine for scalping.

However, Big Day Out promoter Campbell Smith told the commerce select committee yesterday that music concerts would not be covered by the bill, which defined a "major event" as one which gave New Zealand international exposure.

He said up to 50,000 people went to the Big Day Out each year and ticket scalping was a major problem.

This year tickets were sold online for up to six times their $110 value.

"[The bill] should cover all events of this nature, rather than just sporting events. Scalping is a parasitic activity and should be outlawed in all its guises for all events."

The bill is primarily designed to protect official sponsors of major events against rogue traders or "ambush marketing" by stopping other companies from using an event to sell goods or advertise at or near it.

It is designed to deal with events such as the Rugby World Cup in 2011, the Netball world championships in November, and the ICC World Cricket Cup which New Zealand and Australia are hosting in 2015.

It also attempts to deter streakers, by providing for anyone who runs onto the field or throws anything to be jailed for up to three months or fined up to $5000.

Lisa Lewis - the bikini streaker who ran on to the pitch after an All Blacks game in June last year - intends to make a submission opposing the provisions.

Her submission, released to the Herald, proposes organised mass bikini-streaks at the end of major sporting events to remove the danger of renegade streakers.

It says streaking added to the excitement at a game, and should be permitted, "with some ground rules".

A bikini "run" at the end of a game could become an institution similar to "the competition at the horse races of hats and best dressed".

She also believed the threatened three-month jail sentence would be "celebrated as a badge of honour".

"Imagine the heroic connotations of being the first person who plucks up the guts to do it anyway."

A solo-mother, she says her own experience and the consequent media coverage had been punishment enough.

"It is sobering to note that Sitiveni Sivivatu got off lighter in beating his wife than I did for entertaining thousands in my sporty [bikini]."

Ms Lewis said she was also collecting signatures from people opposed to jailing or "draconian" fines for streaking, and who agreed to streaking with some rules.

Under the bill's commercial provisions, the Economic Development Minister can set a "clean zone" within which unauthorised advertising is banned, including 1km around the location of the event and for 5km along main transport routes.

New Zealand Cricket told the committee such a law was essential if the country wanted to attract major sporting events.

Advertising groups, including the Marketing Association and Communication Agencies Association said the bill needed to be more specific as to what areas would be "clean zones" around different sporting grounds.

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