Peter Burling ruined parade by refusing to dress as Santa, say parents

Children were left in tears and parents baffled as nobody from Emirates Team New Zealand played Santa in the victory parade.

Children were left in tears and parents baffled as nobody from Emirates Team New Zealand played Santa in the victory parade.

Yesterday’s America’s Cup parade in Auckland is drawing intense scrutiny today, as parents who attended say it was “completely ruined” by Helmsman Peter Burling’s refusal to dress as Santa Claus.

“Disgraceful, really,” said Dylan Greysome, who weathered the wind and rain to bring his children to the parade. “Honestly put a damper on the whole thing. The rain, we could deal with that, but no Santa? I mean come on.”

Linda Draper said her two children, aged 2 and 4, were “devastated” when Santa never showed, despite “ample opportunity” provided by a lengthy procession.

“There were cars and floats for miles, you could’ve had at least one Santa Claus,” she said. “I spent three hours last night trying to convince my kids to come along. I promised them Santa, and now Team New Zealand are making it look like I lied to them.”

Responding to criticism, Burling has put forth a bizarre excuse, saying he didn’t dress as Santa because “it wasn’t a Santa parade.” But that explanation isn’t sitting well with parents.

“What does he mean it wasn’t a Santa parade?” said Draper. “I have no idea what that means.”

Grant Dalton is also under fire to not being Dave Dobbyn.

“That was a disappointment to many as well,” she added.

Organisers are hoping for a do-over when the parade hits Wellington on Tuesday, and while there’s still no word on whether Burling will cave to the pressure to be Santa, Grant Dalton has said he will endeavour to dress as Dave Dobbyn.

But that effort isn’t convincing a growing number of outraged, many of whom now believe Team New Zealand “must” construct a sleigh as their vessel for the next America’s Cup.

Prime Minister Bill English said he could understand parents’ “frustration,” and hoped that Team New Zealand would find it in themselves to construct a sleigh for the cup’s defence, as that was “the least they could do.”

When pressed further, English was forced to concede that “is actually probably the most they can do.”

“Yeah, I have to admit, I can’t imagine they could realistically do any more than that,” he said.