The students who bought tickets to Wellington's Homegrown music festival from Labour MP Trevor Mallard for an inflated price have turned down his offer to buy them back.

Mr Mallard came under fire today after he made a profit by on-selling tickets to the sold-out event in a Trade Me auction at the weekend.

Tickets for Saturday's festival had a face value of $95 each but Mr Mallard sold his four tickets for $656 - a $276 profit.

The buyer, 19-year-old Laura Signal, picked up the tickets at Mr Mallard's Naenae office, where he handed them over personally.


As minister for sport and recreation, Mr Mallard initiated the Major Events Management Act 2007 which tightened the rules around on-selling tickets to major events and allowed scalpers to be fined up to $5000.

Following today's controversy, Mr Mallard contacted Ms Signal and offered to buy back the tickets.

She declined the offer, and said she would prefer the profit from the sale went to charity.

The issue came before Parliament this afternoon, and Mr Mallard found himself the subject of fun when National MP Tau Henare asked a Patsy question of Minister for Economic Development Steven Joyce about Major Events Management Act protections.

"What reports has the minister received that suggest ongoing behaviour contrary to the intent of that legislation?'' Mr Henare asked.

Mr Joyce said he had received reports of such incidents as late as this morning highlighting the problem of scalping.

"Taking place in this case, apparently, from a red-painted ticket sales office in Naenae, which is possibly part of a chain of such offices all across Lower Hutt,'' Mr Joyce said.

"Notwithstanding that the alleged perpetrator has been quoted in the paper as saying ... what it looks like is a clear case of `do as I say, but not as I do'.''


Prime Minister John Key laughed today when asked about the controversy.

"I don't know the ins and outs of it, but it sounds untidy,'' Mr Key said during a visit to Christchurch.

Asked if Mr Mallard should face disciplinary action for the Trade Me sale, Mr Key said: ``I don't know legally, but it's probably a bit embarrassing.

"This is the guy who passed legislation in 2007 to try and outlaw this very stuff.''

- Additional reporting Herald Online