22 Oct 2014

Akl's Santa falls to Christmas grinch

8:15 pm on 22 October 2014

Auckland's giant Queen Street Santa has been axed after adorning major city buildings for 54 years.

The Queen Street Santa.

The Queen Street Santa. Photo: PHOTO NZ

Terry Gould, chair of downtown promotion agency Heart of the City - which is largely funded by ratepayers via the Auckland Council - said it could not afford the $180,000 cost of putting up Santa and his reindeer on the Whitcoulls building in Queen Street.

The decision came as the agency reviewed its budgets following the sacking of chief executive Alex Swney, who faces tax evasion charges.

Mr Gould said in past years there had been corporate and other support for putting up Santa but not this year, and the agency could not bear the cost on its own.

The six storey high Santa began life on the Farmers Department Store on Hobson Street in 1960 and, after a brief relocation to Manukau City, beceme a Christmas feature in Queen Street.