Auckland councillors may restore ratepayer funding for Santa Parade

NZ Herald 20 February 2019
The Auckland Council may reinstate ratepayer funding tomorrow for the annual Farmers Santa Parade along Queen St.

Last November, the council body Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) withdrew funding for the parade from this year.

At the time an Ateed spokesman said the parade no longer fitted a new 2018-2025 major events strategy – designed to grow tourism and the local economy in a sustainable way.

“This is based on the fact that [the parade] is not a big driver of domestic tourism into Auckland,” the spokesman said.

He said the parade was unlike other events – such as the Diwali and Chinese Lantern Festivals – which have activities that run over a week.

After Ateed pulled funding, Gull New Zealand and retail giant The Warehouse confirmed they will be pitching in to keep the Farmers Santa Parade around.

In light of Ateed’s decision, the council’s community development and safety committee will tomorrow receive a verbal update from officers on options for financially supporting the much loved event, which attracts thousands of families each year.

Family First NZ called Ateed’s decision scroogey and a politically correct hijack of one of the city’s most iconic annual events.

“Despite being a major event which has attracted hundreds of thousands of children for years, and which should automatically qualify it for funding consideration, the agency is thumbing their nose at this family event in favour of other cultural-based events such as the Chinese Lantern Festival, Diwali and the Pride Parade,” said national director Bob McCoskrie.

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