The grinches who would deny us Christmas

santa parade

The Auckland Childrens’ Christmas Parade Trust has lost the Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED) $45,000 grant.

To grow Auckland’s tourism industry in a sustainable way, ATEED’s general manager of destination, Steve Armitage, told Newsroom that ATEED is interested in events which are gaining more popularity each year, such as the Pride Parade, Chinese Lantern Festival and Diwali.

“The grinches who would deny us Christmas say it would offend those who subscribe to religions other than Christian ones in our new multicultural society,” said Bruce Russel on Newstalk ZB commenting on the decision.

“People from those other religions and cultures phone me on talkback and tell me they are not at all offended. They are offended by the accusation that they are offended.”

Russel says this is just ATEED’s excuse for shutting down the word Christmas.

“But their true agenda is that they themselves have decided Christmas is no longer an appropriate word and would have us wish each other Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas.”

However, Armitage says the decision reflects the Auckland Council’s search for alternative revenue streams to reduce the dependency on ratepayers.

He says the Santa Parade is a “one-off event that takes place over a few hours on one weekend a year and is not really targeted to attract people from out of the city, it’s more about allowing local residents the opportunity to celebrate Christmas.”

On the other hand the Pride Parade, Chinese Lantern Festival and Diwali are gaining in popularity.

“The Auckland Pride Parade is continuing to see solid growth in terms of attendance at the parade and attracting visitors from outside Auckland, which we believe also has good potential to expand further,” said Armitage.

The Santa Parade has been given a reprieve. The petrol company Gull New Zealand has announced it will support the parade for the next two years.


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