Crafty punters seeking to make a quick buck off the back of the Lions tour are scalping tickets outside the ground before games - and breaking the law in the process.

The tour reaches a crescendo this weekend with the series locked at one win each before the deciding test at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday.

There are strict rules regarding commercial activity in areas near stadiums during the tour - in so-called clean zones - enforced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) under the Major Events Management Act.

MBIE acting manager of major events strategy Rebecca Heerdegen told the Herald there have been no arrests or formal warnings during the Lions tour for selling tickets before games within clean zones.

Advertisement

"There are clean zones in effect around all DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017 venues in which all non-authorised commercial activity is restricted, which includes selling tickets. MBIE uses its discretion when enforcing the Act and responds on a case-by-case basis."

The Herald understands one man went to the first test at Auckland's Eden Park without a ticket and set himself a limit of $200 to acquire one. He managed to buy a ticket for $200.

A Herald reporter was also offered tickets numerous times before the first test in Auckland.

A man and a woman were offering two tickets for $400 outside Kingsland train station as fans descended down the stairs and made their way to the stadium before the same game.

After a group of fans disputed the price, they were told "that's face value, that's what they cost".

One Lions supporter had a hand-written note taped to the back of his jersey offering a ticket for sale while walking up and down New North Rd in Kingsland.

Heerdegen said they are working with Auckland Council and New Zealand Rugby to enforce the Major Events Management Act before the final test.

"MBIE has received reports of scalping online through off-shore websites, however the Act does not have extra-territorial jurisdiction and this activity is outside the scope of the Act."

Heerdegen said there have not been any arrests or charges laid for ticket scalping in relation to the Lions tour.

Earlier in the tour fake merchandise had been seized before games in Christchurch, Dunedin and Rotorua.

An MBIE spokeswoman said a group of people were selling items with "unauthorised association with the Lions series".

MBIE tourism, sectors, regions and cities general manager Iain Cossar said they were "currently investigating a small number of incidents involving the sale of merchandise", and "three to four individuals" have been responsible for it.

The spokeswoman said MBIE has served "a number" of breach notices under the Major Events Management Act 2007, and "continues to gather evidence should the Ministry decide to prosecute".

MBIE has not encountered any people selling fake All Blacks merchandise before games.

The series status as a major event under the Act means it has protection for specific words and emblems closely associated with the tour.

There is a full list of words that on their own and in combination cannot be used unofficially, and MBIE said enforcement of the Act is "designed to obtain maximum benefits from the major event for New Zealand" and "prevent unauthorised commercial exploitation at the expense of a major event owner, organiser or sponsor".

"The sale of these types of goods directly exploit the event and may impact on New Zealand's reputation as a world-class major event host," Cossar said.

Clean zones are areas within direct proximity to match venues that have restrictions on trading and advertising.

MBIE expects that the economic returns from the Lions Series will be similar to those generated when the Lions last toured New Zealand in 2005 - about 20,000 international visitors, generating 431,000 international visitor bed nights, and having a GDP impact of $135 million.