Santa Parade: Dumped Santa gets his job back

Auckland's Santa scrap has taken another turn, with the fired Santa claiming he's now been reinstated.

Neville Baker, who's portrayed the festive legend in the Auckland Santa Parade for the last five years, was dropped after he made controversial comments regarding Santa's gender.

Mr Baker told NZME in November his company My Santa would not hire women to play Santa as he wanted it to be as "authentic" as possible, but would hire them as Santa's helpers if they'd wear a "little skirt and top".

"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 said.

The sacking fired up a debate on whether a fictional character had to be a certain sex, with Howick Local Board chair David Collings saying he'd like a "Santa with boobies, just like mummy", but others saying Santa has always been a man, and always should be - including National leader Simon Bridges.

Mr Baker told NZME on Saturday night he's been told by parade organisers he will be Santa for the sixth year in a row.

He said a joint statement had been prepared.

"Putting all this behind me, it's all about the children, it's all about the parade and making sure that goes ahead," he told NZME.

An unscientific online poll by The AM Show found only 18 percent of viewers/readers said a woman could play Santa.

Sunday's parade is threatened by rain. A decision on whether to cancel will be made around 10am.