The Civilian Party

Last updated

The Civilian Party
Founder Ben Uffindell
Founded 7 June 2013 (2013-06-07)
Dissolved 5 May 2015 (2015-05-05)

The Civilian Party was a frivolous political party founded by political satirist Ben Uffindell. It contested the 2014 New Zealand general election before disbanding. The party was deregistered at its own request on 5 May 2015. [1] [2]



Uffindell, who finished a degree in political science at University of Canterbury in 2012, [3] [4] started The Civilian as a satirical New Zealand online newspaper in 2013. Uffindell claimed an average of 20,00025,000 page views per day. [5]

University of Canterbury university in Christchurch, New Zealand

The University of Canterbury is New Zealand's second oldest university.

<i>The Civilian</i>

The Civilian is a satirical New Zealand website. It was started in 2013 by Ben Uffindell, who finished a degree in political science at University of Canterbury in 2012. It has been compared to the US satirical website/newspaper The Onion. In April 2013 The Civilian received about 15,000 page views per day, and in a May 2013 interview Uffindell stated an average of 20,000–25,000 page views per day.

Satire genre of arts and literature in the form of humor or ridicule

Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government, or society itself into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.

On 7 June 2013, The Civilian announced its intention to register a political party and to charge fifty cents as a membership fee. [6] [7] Prediction market iPredict listed a contract on 21 June 2013 measuring the likelihood of the registration of The Civilian Party before the 2014 general election. [8]

iPredict was a New Zealand prediction market that offered prediction exchanges on current events, political issues and economic issues. iPredict was jointly owned by the New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation and Victoria University of Wellington. The site launched on 9 September 2008 and closed 1 December 2016.

Uffindell gave an interview as party leader on TV3's current-affairs television programme The Nation and outlined some of the party's policies, including: [9]

In a governmental system, a party leader acts as the official representative of their political party. The party leader is typically responsible for managing the party's relationship with the general public. As such, they will take a leading role in developing and communicating party policy, especially election platforms, to the electorate. They are also typically the public face of the respective party and the principal media contact.

Llama species of mammal

The llama is a domesticated South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since the Pre-Columbian era.

Hamilton, New Zealand City in North Island, New Zealand

Hamilton is a city in the North Island of New Zealand. It is the seat and most populous city of the Waikato region, with a territorial population of 169,300, the country's fourth most-populous city. Encompassing a land area of about 110 km2 (42 sq mi) on the banks of the Waikato River, Hamilton is part of the wider Hamilton Urban Area, which also encompasses the nearby towns of Ngaruawahia, Te Awamutu and Cambridge.

In June 2014 the party came under criticism for receiving $33,635 in political-party funding from the Electoral Commission. Prime Minister John Key commented that "the Civilian Party will be thinking the biggest joke's on us, the taxpayer", and the New Zealand Taxpayers' Union reacted negatively. [10] However, party leader Ben Uffindell said that considering the party had asked for $1 million in funding, $33,000 was "a bad deal". He also pointed out: "There are other joke parties getting funding, like the Conservatives and ACT." [11] [12] [13]

Electoral Commission (New Zealand) crown entity administering elections in New Zealand

The Electoral Commission is an independent Crown entity set up by the New Zealand Parliament. It is responsible for the administration of parliamentary elections and referenda, promoting compliance with electoral laws, servicing the work of the Representation Commission, and the provision of advice, reports and public education on electoral matters. The Commission also assists electoral agencies of other countries on a reciprocal basis with their electoral events.

John Key 38th Prime Minister of New Zealand

Sir John Phillip Key is a former New Zealand politician who served as the 38th Prime Minister of New Zealand and Leader of the New Zealand National Party. He was elected leader of the party in November 2006 and appointed Prime Minister in November 2008, resigning from both posts in December 2016. After leaving politics, Key was appointed to board of director and chairmanship roles in New Zealand corporations.

New Zealand Taxpayers Union organization

The New Zealand Taxpayers' Union is a taxpayer pressure group founded in 2013 to scrutinise government spending; publicise government waste and promote an efficient tax system. It claims to be politically independent and not aligned to, or intended to develop into a political party. However, the group refuses to state who funds them and generally refuses requests to speak with media about this. In 2019 it was reported the group has been funded in part by British American Tobacco. This, along with their close ties to many right-wing figures from the New Zealand political scene, has resulted in them being widely regarded as a right-wing pressure group.

On 23 July 2014 the party applied to the Electoral Commission for registration. [14] The party was formally registered on 11 August 2014. [15]

The party received 1,096 votes (0.05%) in the 2014 general election.

The party was deregistered at its own request on 5 May 2015. [16] [17]

Electoral results

Election Candidates nominated Seats won Votes Vote share % Position The Civilian Party
in government?
Electorate List
2014 0 8
0 / 121
1,096 0.05% 13th / 15Unelected

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  1. "Amendments to the Register of Political Parties". Electoral Commission. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  2. "Satirical party that promised to ban satire deregistered". Stuff. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  3. Manhire, Toby (25 March 2013). "The Civilian: a new NZ satire site". New Zealand Listener . APN News & Media . Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  4. Gates, Charlie (1 April 2013). "Satirical spoofs spread word for The Civilian". The Press . Fairfax New Zealand . Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  5. Bookman, Sam (20 May 2013). "From the Blogosphere The Civilian". Craccum . Auckland University Students' Association (10). Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  6. "Editorial: Why we're registering a political party". The Civilian. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  7. "Joining The Civilian Party". The Civilian. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  8. "The Civilian Party to Register before next General Election". iPredict (Victoria University of Wellington). Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  9. "Party calls for free ice-cream and llamas". 3 News . MediaWorks New Zealand. 24 May 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  10. "Taxpayers Union angered over Civilian Party funding". National. The New Zealand Herald . Auckland: APN New Zealand Limited. The Radio Network. 2014-06-08. ISSN   1170-0777 . Retrieved 2014-08-27. The Taxpayers Union is furious a joke political party has been given public money to fund its electoral campaign. [...] Online satirist Ben Uffindell persuaded the Electoral Commission to hand over $33,000 for his Civilian Party. [...] Taxpayer Union spokesman Jordan Williams says it's outrageous.
  11. "Taxpayers Union angered over Civilian Party funding". The New Zealand Herald. APN News & Media. 8 June 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  12. Kirk, Stacey (9 June 2014). "Civilian Party 'a joke on taxpayers'". . Fairfax New Zealand. Archived from the original on 9 June 2014.
  13. Whelan, Megan (9 June 2014). "Shots fired in election satire". The Wireless. Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  14. "Registration of The Civilian Party and logo". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 23 July 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  15. "Registration of The Civilian Party and Logo". Electoral Commission. 11 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  16. "Amendments to the Register of Political Parties". Electoral Commission. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  17. "Satirical party that promised to ban satire deregistered". Stuff. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2015.