News from Auckland Council
The Mayor has ruled out any bylaws banning lolly scrambles, water pistols or participants who are under five years old from Santa Parades, nor will their restriction be a condition of the event permit.
“Santa Parades are fun events for the whole community. It’s a shame if there has been any misunderstanding about council’s processes for putting on these events,” says Len Brown.
“I try and get along to as many Santa Parades as I can. The best thing about the events is how strongly they are supported by the local community and all the volunteers.
“It’s a special time of year and we need to make them as fun and safe as possible.”
Any restrictions on a parade are generally a decision of the event organiser.
Where the issue of children under five, water pistols or lolly scrambles arises is in the risk management planning stage, although there are no current bylaws banning them. Under health and safety legislation, council officers check the plan submitted by the organiser to ensure risks are isolated, minimised or eliminated.
Some parade organisers stipulate an age restriction, such as the Farmers Santa Parade where participants have to be at least seven years old. If an organiser wants to involve young children, council officers insist that risk management actions are in place (such as the ratio of adults to children, safety barriers and ensuring kids are seated). Ultimately, it is up to the parade organiser to determine their level of compliance.
With respect to lolly scrambles, for a number of years council has advised parade organisers of the dangers in throwing lollies from moving vehicles following incidents where children have been harmed running in front of floats. This is not a rule, although the advice is normally accepted.
Water pistols have never been an issue and are not banned from the events.
“Council will work to make sure parades are safe. But we won’t do it with a heavy hand. We want them to be great events for the whole family,” says the Mayor.