Hands up and give us your money, sucker – you have entered a fan zone and I’m the law here

It’s daylight robbery and Alf expects Murray McCully – the bloke who has taken personal responsibility for the running of the Rugby World Cup – to do something about it.

He could resign, for example, and the PM could give the job to a more worthy politician. The long-serving, much-admired and hard-working member for Eketahuna North, for example.

Alf refers to the raft of rip-offs associated with the RWC event, the latest being the selling of soft drinks at Rugby World Cup Fan Zones,

True, we only have the Herald on Sunday’s word for it, and the HoS should not be relied on even for telling us what day it is.

But let’s give the buggers the benefit of the doubt on this one.

It says a set price of $5 a bottle has been forced on vendors.

Forced, it should be noted.

The HoS is outraged.

The focus of its outrage is on the plunderous price.

It’s expensive, even by Auckland standards.

At a dairy across the road from The Cloud, the same 600ml bottle costs only $3.50 and the highest price along the Viaduct, never the cheapest venue, is only $4.

But while price gouging is an outrage, sure enough, the greater outrage is something called price fixing.

The wonderful free market has been debased and defiled.

As a great champion of the free market, Alf says the Commerce Commission or whatever other authorities are responsible for discouraging anti-competitive behaviour should move in and crack down.

The retailers in this shabby story seem keen to offer consumers a better deal – maybe even compete with each other for business.

Food and drink vendors told the Herald on Sunday they would prefer to sell soft drinks at the usual rate, as they believed it was better for business.

So who the hell is stopping them, and why hasn’t that party beein arrested and charged with the aforementioned daylight robbery?

The HoS throws a bit of light on the matter.

First of all, under arrangements obviously sanctioned by the Government while Alf wasn’t paying attention, sponsers get very cosy exclusive selling rights. Competition has taken a back seat from that point.

And so –

Coca-Cola, an official RWC sponsor, has exclusive soft drinks rights in the fan zones and stadiums but did not “dictate or determine” price. This was set by Auckland Council’s RWC arm, with input from central government and caterers.

The outrage has worsened, because a National-led government has been complicit in the rip-off.

But we don’t see McCully leaping out to explain things to the pissed-off public.


We hear instead from RWC 2011 communications manager Simon Roche, who said:

“We believe the pricing is in line with other major events venues.”

See. The market is not setting the price. It has been set by a bunch of bloody poo-bahs who think it’s in line with other major events venues.


Maybe we can get around this by taking our drinks with us.

No. The rapacious poo-bahs are too fly too give hard-working Kiwis a break on that front.

Security restrictions prevent fans taking in their own drinks.

There are great ironies attached to this, besides the complicity of McCully and/or his mandarins.

Earlier this year, International Rugby Board boss Mike Miller pleaded with businesses not to inflate prices during the tournament, and Commerce Commission enforcement manager Greg Allan said any that tried to “make hay while the sun shines” could irreparably damage New Zealand’s reputation.

But these buggers aren’t simply making hay.

They have contrived to spin the hay – or is it straw? – into gold.

The poor bloody consumers, on the other hand, are being plundered now on top of the Government’s plundering of them to raise the readies to pay for this circus.

The All Blacks – all going well – will come out winners. The international rugby wallahs will be winners, too, when they bugger off with their profit of a few hundred million dollars.

Taxpayers who have been screwed on many other fronts will be left picking up the tab.

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