Farmers Auckland Christmas parade dumps Santa over controversial comments

The Auckland Santa Parade.
The Auckland Santa Parade. Photo credit: Getty

The Farmers Auckland Christmas parade has ditched its Santa over controversial comments he made about hiring women.

Neville Baker told NZME last week his company My Santa would not hire women to play Santa as he wanted it to be as "authentic" as possible.

"There's a certain character people expect to find when they come to meet Santa," Mr Baker told NZME, referring to the fact applicants for his company's Santa roles need to be male.

A spokesperson for the Human Rights Commission told NZME sex was a "prohibited ground of discrimination" under the Act. However there are some circumstances when it's not unlawful to discriminate on gender, including for "reasons of authenticity".

Mr Baker has been Santa on the Farmers main float for the past five years, but if the parade chairman gets his way that won't be the case in 2018.

"We found his comments to be inappropriate and unnecessary and will be not using their services for the parade," chairman of the Children's Christmas Parade Trust Michael Barnett told NZME.

Mr Barnett explained the board would be trying to distance itself from the My Santa company in future.

But Mr Baker told NZME as of last night he's yet to hear from the parade organisers, and will be turning up as normal on Sunday.

"I'm not aware to any change in my arrangement. It's news to me, I've got no communication of that," he said.

Newshub.