The man in charge of Auckland's Santa Parade is determined Falun Gong members will not take part in the event. The Wellington City Council decided to allow members of the Chinese spiritual group to participate in the capital's parade at the weekend after they threatened court action.
But it will be a different story in Auckland. Chairman of the Santa Parade Trust in the Queen City, Michael Barnett, says the group cannot assure him they will not hand out pamphlets if they are in this Sunday's parade, so he is not budging. He says the parade is about entertaining children, not propaganda.
Mr Barnett says he is quite happy to sit down with the Human Rights Commission to talk about the issue next year. He had been approached by the Commission about the issue, but says it is too late to do anything before this year's parade.
Mr Barnett says there is a large representation from China in the parade anyway.
Meanwhile balmy weather conditions saw more than 70,000 thousand people gather in Wellington's city centre to watch the annual Christmas Parade yesterday afternoon.
(NZPA, November 19, 2007)
Original text from: http://nz.news.yahoo.com/071118/2/2gp2.html