Santa Parade debate: 'You can't have a Santa with boobs'

Debate over whether or not Santa could be played by a woman has taken a strange turn.

Last week, Neville Baker told NZME his company My Santa would not hire women to play Santa in the annual Santa Parade as he wanted the character to be as "authentic" as possible.

He elaborated on his comments in the article, saying he didn't want children to notice Santa's boobs and would instead dress up female applicants as Santa's helpers in a "little skirt and top".

Howick Local Board chair David Collings joined the debate, saying on Facebook he would like a Santa with breasts.

"I don't think [Baker's] comments meant any harm. Cripes I would have loved as a kid a Santa with boobies, just like mummy," he wrote.

"Boobies are very important when you're a young child, they provide comfort. I to this day still remember that comfort."

Mr Collings stood by his comments when contacted by Stuff.

Children's Christmas Parade Trust chair Michael Barnett told Stuff a suitable replacement Santa had been found, and the trust was distancing itself from Mr Baker and My Santa.

"What the Santa agency said was 'you can't have a Santa with boobs' and the agency talked about a support crew with little skirts and tops  it was a statement that did not sound like the values of a family parade," he said.