Wellington Scoop

Do they want to get rid of Ticketek?

The city council may have reasons for wanting to replace Ticketek. For a start, there’s the extra cost that has to be paid every time anyone books a ticket.

The council’s Positively Wellington Venues company (yes, the one that’s facing an unexpected loss) wants to find “expressions of interest for the provision of ticketing services” for the next three years. Applications close on Friday.

Ticketek’s charges may well be a reason for the move.

Book online for Michael Houstoun’s Beethoven concert tonight – tickets are $50 but you’ll have to pay an extra $8 to Ticketek as a “transaction fee” if you choose to collect your tickets at the venue. And there isn’t any other choice.

There’s a similar extra charge of you want to go to any of the Wellington Chamber Music’s Sunday concerts which start next month. Tickets are $45 or $40 but Ticketek charge an extra $8.50 as a handling fee for phone and mail bookings.

Book for the Saints’ match at the TSB Arena at the end of this month – tickets are only $30 but Ticketek advises “a transaction fee from $5 applies.” Plus another fee for using a credit card. The same transaction fee is charged when you book a $60 ticket to see the Haier Pulse playing in the same venue, though no credit card charge is mentioned.

The annual Wellington Film Festival goes to great pains to explain Ticketek’s extra costs. There’s an extra $8.60 charge for each transaction if you book by phone or mail. If you book on the internet the Ticketek fee is $8.10 per transaction. If you choose the new system which lets you print your own ticket, the transaction charge comes down to $5.(Each transaction is limited to ten films.)

Does Positively Wellington Venues believe it can find any other ticketing system that can handle the multiplicity of venues and events and seating plans which Ticketek deals with?

Is there any organisation that would have enough resources to take over the Ticketek booking offices in the Michael Fowler Centre and the St James?

Will the call for expressions of interest be the same as when the council’s Wellington Waterfront company followed a similar procedure for Shed 5 – when the process ended there was a new deal with the established tenant.

Or is the process some kind of negotiating strategy to bring down Ticketek’s add-on charges?


  1. Alana Bowman, 15. April 2013, 10:50

    Interesting. Given the number of smart programmers in Wellington capable of producing fine quality apps and software used internationally, there could be a crowd of possible suppliers for the simple transaction required.
    But such a short time limit for expressions of interest? An exercise without a real commitment to change?

  2. KB, 15. April 2013, 11:06

    In this day and age ticketing systems are very easy to implement – there are numerous ticketing startups in Wellington alone, and the technology required is at such a low level that the council shouldn’t be outsourcing this at all.

  3. Nora, 15. April 2013, 16:35

    One presumes Ticketek pays rent to the City Council for the use of the Michael Fowler centre office and to the Venues company for its space at the St James, so would the successful applicant have to move somewhere else if fees were reduced?

  4. Grumpy, 15. May 2013, 20:25

    What is the legal situation on this?
    If I want to buy a ticket advertised at $50 then surely I should be able to pay $50.00, not
    $58.50? It is simply not tenable to say the ticket costs $50 and the extra $8.50 is a separate cost, namely a handling fee. At the very least I should have the option of paying only $50, for example by buying over the counter. Even if Ticketek is acting as an agent then I believe a problem still exists. It is simply misleading to advertise $50 but charge $58.50. Air NZ used to do this with seat ticket sales, a practice that went on for ages until someone complained and we now have the option of buying a seat for the true price and not being forced to pay an admin fee. It leaves a soar taste in the mouth.!