|Leader||The Laird of Hamilton, Graeme Cairns|
|Colours||Red and Green, Tartan|
The McGillicuddy Serious Party (McGSP) was a satirical political party in New Zealand in the late 20th century. Between 1984 and 1999, it provided "colour" to ensure that citizens not take the political process too seriously. The party's logo, the head of a medieval court jester, indicated its status as a joke party.
The party stood candidates in the 1984, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1996 and 1999 general elections and the 1986, 1989, 1992, 1995 and 1998 Local Body elections;along with local-body and parliamentary by-elections and university student association elections.
It gained its highest number of votes in the last first-past-the-post (FPP) general election in 1993, when it stood candidates in 62 out of 99 electorates and received 11,714 votes, 0.61% of the vote.
The party was formed in 1984in Hamilton as the political arm of Clan McGillicuddy (established in 1978). Members of the Clan had stood as candidates in the 1983 local-body elections in the Waikato, and the party came together in time to contest the 1984 General Election. It had a strong Scottish theme, with the kilt considered one of its symbols. Candidates included street performers and comedic musical groups such as the Big Muffin Serious Band.
After discovering that he had some (rather obscure) relationship to the Stuart pretenders, Bonnie Prince Geoffie the Reluctant was advanced by Clan McGillicuddy in 1979 as replacement for Queen Elizabeth II.The Clan's armed wing, the McGillicuddy Highland Army (McGHA), attempted to settle the matter by trial by combat, challenging the New Zealand Army to a winner-takes-all pillow-fight; the army declined the offer. Armed "pacifist" insurrection using harmless weapons having failed, the Clan reluctantly turned to the ballot-box, contesting general elections from 1984 to 1999. The Clan has not totally given up the fight, as it continues to occasionally battle the loyalist forces of Alf's Imperial Army, a pro-British pacifist-warfare group that supported the Wizard of New Zealand and promoted the McGillicuddies' rival for the silly vote, the Imperial British Conservative Party. The two groups' most recent battle was on Sunday 15 February 2015, in Wellington.
The party sometimes became the subject of aggression from unexpected quarters: in 1990 Green Party candidate Warrick Pudney challenged his Te Atatū rival to a paper-sword fight in Aotea Square. The fight ended in a declared draw, with both combatants treated for paper cuts.[ citation needed ]
At one point the party selected its candidates through trial by combat, with newspaper swords and water-balloons, the loser of the combat becoming the candidate. In 1996 a giant game of musical chairs took place in Cathedral Square, Christchurch to select the Canterbury electorate candidates. Whoever remained sitting on one of the labelled chairs when the music stopped became the candidate for that seat. Potential candidates for proportional representation (list) seats vied Cinderella-style by trying to fit into labelled shoes.[ citation needed ]
The party selected its policies on the basis of their absurdity and their impracticality.
Central policies in every election included a return to a mediaeval lifestyle, known as the "Great Leap Backwards" [ citation needed ]and (superficially) the restoration of a monarchy supposedly based on the Scottish Jacobite line, in the name of Bonnie Prince Geoffie the reluctant. At a deeper level the party invoked the political system of Tibetan Buddhism, with "stspm" (singularly transferable spirit possession monarchy) used as justification for the selection of Bonnie Prince Geoffie as the undeniable head of the McState. This embodied the principles stated by the ancient Greeks that "no-one who seeks power should be allowed it." Bonnie Prince Geoffie refused consistently and permanently to have anything to do with the authority that this position gave him, and ran for all he was worth and never had anything to do with party again, thus proving his indisputable worthiness for the position.
Other policies included:
The party attracted a surprising level of support, and became one of the larger parties outside parliament. On a number of occasions, particularly following the introduction of the mixed member proportional (MMP) electoral system, pundits[ who? ] predicted that the party might actually win parliamentary representation, but this never happened. When the major parties boycotted the Tauranga by-election 1993 in 1993, the party's candidate Greg Pittams, who appeared in nationwide newspapers during this campaign wearing his "emperor's new kilt" outfit, consisting of only a shirt and sporran, finished second to Winston Peters. Votes for the party presumably most often represented protest votes, something that the party encouraged with one of its slogans: "If you want to waste your vote, vote for us."[ citation needed ]
The party began to encounter the problem that often appears in joke parties—a debate about exactly how serious it should become. The founders of the party essentially saw it as "a bit of fun", aimed at providing humour and entertainment. This remained a major part of the party. However, later recruits to the party sometimes saw the party's satire in a more serious context, regarding it as a tool with which people could ridicule and challenge the political establishment. In particular a number of anarchists joined the party, seeing it as an antidote to the traditional order and intending to use the party as a vehicle to give anarchist policies a higher public profile. The dichotomy, in essence, grew between "satire for fun" and "satire to make a political point". Many of the party's original members resented what they saw as a usurpation of the party for more avowedly political and overdefined anarchist purposes, and felt that for the party to become openly "anarchist" would thus make some area of politics "off-limits" to satire. They saw this as an anathema. In addition they saw having a clearly identifiable stance as lessening the party's effectiveness as satirists. However other members had little problem with the expression of more openly anarchist viewpoints.[ citation needed ]
In the 1996 general election the party put up 65 list candidates, and 45 candidates stood as an electorate candidate.
The 1999 election campaign proved a disappointment. The party gained only 0.15% of the vote, a considerable drop. Shortly after the election, the party disbanded and the Electoral Commission officially deregistered it as a political party.Party leader Graeme Cairns marked the event and did penance for the loss by placing himself in stocks in Garden Place in Hamilton in December 1999 as disgruntled party members pelted him with rotten fruit.
The following table summarises the party's support in general elections.
|Election||Number of electorate votes||Share of electorate votes||Number of party votes||Share of party votes||Number of candidates||Seats||Outcome of election|
|1984||178||0.01%||-||-||3||0||Labour Party victory|
|1987||2,990||0.16%||-||-||19||0||Labour Party victory|
|1990||9,918||0.54%||-||-||59||0||National Party victory|
|1993||11,714||0.61%||-||-||62||0||National Party victory|
|1996||12,177||0.59%||5,990||0.29%||65||0||National-based coalition government|
|1999||3,633||0.18%||3,191||0.15%||64||0||Labour-based coalition government|
|By-election||Year||Candidate||# votes||% of vote||Placing||Result|
|Tamaki||1992||Adrian Holroyd||73||0.42%||7th||National hold|
|Tauranga||1993||Greg Pittams||271||2.15%||2nd||Independent gain|
|Selwyn||1994||Tim Owens||26||0.12%||8th||National hold|
|Taranaki-King Country||1998||Paul Cooke||76||0.38%||11th||National hold|
A number of former members went on to stand as candidates for "real" parties. Former co-leader of the Green party, Metiria Turei,formerly held party membership, and was number 27 on the party list for the 1999 General Election. Other prominent candidates from this first generation of electioneering included founder and Party Leader Graeme Cairns, the "Laird of Hamilton"; Mark Servian; KT Julian, a long-time Party Deputy Leader; Adrian Holroyd; Cecil G. Murgatroyd (who subsequently stood against Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke under the Imperial British Conservative Party banner); Sam Buchanan; Steve Richards; Donna Demente; and Penni Bousfield.
Some of the party's original members became upset at the cancellation of their lifetime membership. In July 2005 a "McGillicuddy Serious Party" put out a press-release announcing plans to participate in the 2005 election, one initial policy involving replacing MPs with harmless jargon-generators. [ citation needed ]A former member put out the press-release without the knowledge of the Clan McGillicuddy's senior members or of the party's former leadership.
After intense discussions within the Clan McGillicuddy, no further press releases appeared, no official party registration took place, and neither the party nor any candidates appeared on the 2005 ballot.[ citation needed ]
One candidate stood under the McGillicuddy Serious banner in the 2008 general election: Steve Richards contested the West Coast-Tasman electorate and received 259 votes.
A member from the Party's early days, Richards had stood as a candidate in previous elections.
Despite the demise of the party, Clan McGillicuddy continued to hold regular public events for some time. A pacifist battle in Oamaru on 31 December 2007 saw McGillicuddy "Martians" take on Alf's Imperial Army in an enactment of The War of the Worlds .YouTube hosts a video of this battle. On 31 December 2013, there was a pacifist battle in Waitati in which the McGillicuddies defended Castle Almond (the castle-like home of one their members) against an "attack" by the local Waitati Militia.
The Christian Heritage Party of New Zealand was a New Zealand political party espousing Christian values and conservative views on social policy. Although it never won seats in an election, it came close to doing so in 1996 as part of the Christian Coalition and briefly had a member in Parliament.
The Workers Party of New Zealand was a socialist political party in New Zealand. It published a monthly magazine called "The Spark". In February 2013 the party was transformed from a "mass workers party" to a "fighting propaganda group". The organisation was renamed to Fightback.
The 1996 New Zealand general election was held on 12 October 1996 to determine the composition of the 45th New Zealand Parliament. It was notable for being the first election to be held under the new mixed-member proportional (MMP) electoral system, and produced a parliament considerably more diverse than previous elections. It saw the National Party, led by Jim Bolger, retain its position in government, but only after protracted negotiations with the smaller New Zealand First party to form a coalition. New Zealand First's position as "kingmaker", able to place either of the two major parties into government, was a significant election outcome.
Metiria Leanne Agnes Stanton Turei is a former New Zealand politician. She was a Member of Parliament from 2002 to 2017 and the female co-leader of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand from 2009 to 2017. Turei resigned from the co-leader position on 9 August 2017 amid a political controversy arising from her admission to lying to the Ministry of Social Development to receive higher payments when she was on the Domestic Purposes Benefit and later, to being enrolled to vote in an electorate where she was not eligible when she was 23.
The 1993 New Zealand general election was held on 6 November 1993 to determine the composition of the 44th New Zealand Parliament. Voters elected 99 members to the House of Representatives, up from 97 members at the 1990 election. The election was the last general election to use the first-past-the-post electoral system, with all members elected from single-member electorates.
The Communist League of New Zealand is a New Zealand communist party.
Graeme William Cairns is a New Zealand musician, artist, and political candidate. Originally from Scotland, he is perhaps best known for his role as "Laird McGillicuddy", chief of the Clan McGillicuddy, and as the only-ever leader of the Clan's satirical McGillicuddy Serious political party. In the 1996 election, he was, at 65, the lowest-ranked candidate on their party list. At the next election in 1999, when he stood in the Port Waikato electorate, he was in first rank on the party list. In 2006, he built a toothbrush fence as an absurdist art project.
The Independent Political Labour League (IPLL) was a small New Zealand political party. It was the second organised political party to win a seat in the House of Representatives, and was a forerunner of the modern Labour Party.
The McGillicuddy Highland Army is the fighting wing of New Zealand's Clan McGillicuddy and does battle with enemies of the Clan in accordance with the rules of the pastime of pacifist warfare. Battles have taken place at wide range of locations and events around the country. During the period 1984-1999 it shared many members in common with the Clan's political wing, the better-known McGillicuddy Serious Party.
The New Zealand general election of 1905 was held on Wednesday, 6 December in the general electorates, and on Wednesday, 20 December in the Māori electorates to elect a total of 80 MPs to the 16th session of the New Zealand Parliament. A total number of 412,702 voters turned out, with 396,657 voting in the European electorates.
Tauranga is a New Zealand parliamentary electorate, returning one Member of Parliament to the New Zealand House of Representatives. The current MP for Tauranga is Simon Bridges of the National Party, who won the seat in the 2008 New Zealand general election, after the previous MP, Bob Clarkson of the National Party, retired.
Te Atatū is a parliamentary electorate, returning one Member of Parliament to the New Zealand House of Representatives. The current MP for Te Atatū is Phil Twyford of the Labour Party.
Wairarapa is a New Zealand parliamentary electorate. It was first created in 1858 and existed until 1881. It was recreated in 1887 and has since existed continuously. In the early years, the electorate was for a time represented by two members. Wairarapa has been held by Alastair Scott since the 2014 election.
Wellington Central is an electorate, represented by a Member of Parliament in the New Zealand House of Representatives. Its MP since November 2008 has been Labour Party's Grant Robertson.
Alf's Imperial Army, founded in 1972, by Ian Brackenbury Channell is New Zealand's longest-running and largest pacifist warfare organisation. Organised loosely along military lines, it has Regiments in several New Zealand towns and cities. As a self declared "army" it exists to do "battle" using strictly non-harmful weapons, following the rules and conventions of the pastime known as "pacifist warfare". Alf's have held many highly publicised battles against a wide range of New Zealand organisations and community groups.
The Bill and Ben Party was a New Zealand joke political party formed in 2008 and voluntarily deregistered in 2010. The party's leaders were Jamie Linehan and Ben Boyce of the TV3 satirical sports show Pulp Sport. In the 2008 general election the party secured 0.56% of the vote, outpolling every other party not in parliament prior to the election. It gained the ninth-highest number of votes out of the 19 parties standing for election.
Northern Maori was one of the four original New Zealand parliamentary Māori electorates, from 1868 to 1996.
Heretaunga is a former New Zealand parliamentary electorate, in the city of Upper Hutt, that existed from 1954 until 1996.
Yaldhurst is a former New Zealand parliamentary electorate, near the city of Christchurch. The electorate was to the southwest of Christchurch, and was suburban and semi-rural.
Cecil Godfrey Murgatroyd was mainly known for being involved in New Zealand national politics along with Australian Federal and State politics, and for his role in the 1998 Australian Constitutional convention. From 1981 until his death in 2001 he was generally associated with running, and standing as a candidate for, two non-serious parties, the Imperial British Conservative Party (IBCP) and the McGillicuddy Serious Party (McGSP), which both operated in the two countries. Murgatroyd's platforms were typically absurdist and of a 'pataphysical nature.