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Andrew Carmody received an email in late October from Dunedin Venues telling him lounge members in aisle 306 were to be relocated to seats attached to a level four lounge.
However, in an email to Mr Carmody, DVML chief executive Terry Davies said DVML was going "above and beyond" what it was required to do under the lounge membership agreements.
The Lions series was declared to be a "major event" under the Major Events Management Act in late August, which meant the Highlanders match against the Lions was "expressly excluded" from being a scheduled event, Davies said.
"Members have no automatic right to their designated seat for "non scheduled events", he said in the email.
"Instead, DVML is to try to get members ‘preferential booking rights’ [i.e. to pay for tickets to that event] to their designated seat. Here, DVML has been unable to get booking rights to all designated seats, so has instead voluntarily offered tickets in other seats to the non scheduled event free of charge.
"DVML are committed to delivering members as much value as possible and to this end giving members the opportunity to attend non-scheduled events like international cricket, Lions and other sport, at no cost is a priority."
Mr Carmody acknowledged that due to the enactment of the Major Events Management Act, DVML had the authority to consider the fixture as outside the members’ allowance, but he questioned the use of the act to move him and fellow members.
"That’s the excuse they’ve hung that on and there’s a clause in those original members’ contracts that mentioned that Act," he said.
"I still think that’s tenuous that the Act was designed to do what they’re doing. The major events act was really designed around ambush marketing and to prevent that sort of thing."
Carmody estimates he will spend about $100,000 over the 10-year term of his contract for the six founder member seats, and being moved had left him a "bit p... off", especially as originally a member’s handbook had promoted the Lions tour as part of the members benefit.
That email from 2015 has since been superseded by the Government’s decision to cover the Lions tour with the major events Act.
"Everyone else bar founder members have the right to retain the seats or — if they’re standard membership but have to buy seats to this game — get to retain their seats, and we’ve been kicked to touch which is a bit frustrating."