Civilian Party submit registration but cutting it fine

The Civilian Party believes it has got the five hundred members required and has submitted it’s registration, but it’s not certain there will be time to complete the process.

They posted on Facebook:

Several days ago, our fledgling political movement came to you, the people, and asked for your help in our hour of greatest need. The response was overwhelming. At least that’s the sentence our autocomplete system suggests most commonly comes after the previous one.

Four days on, we are pleased to report that the future of this country is secure, and in a box, on its way to Wellington. Is that future alive, or is it dead, or is it in a constant state of flux until someone (probably the Electoral Commission) opens it and finds out? In just over a month’s time, we will know.

A special and heartfelt thanks must go out to every single one of you who financially committed to this party over the course of our quest for registration. When we made our final plea, we received far, far more memberships than necessary. Perhaps you people should learn some moderation.

The work for us on our application is now done, and The Civilian shall return to usual business tomorrow. But if the Electoral Commission decides that your voices – no, your money – is worthy, then this will only be the beginning of our electoral journey.

We now promise to turn much of our spare attention to replying to emails and messages that have been sent by you and left unanswered for far, far too long.

A great philosopher once said something very wise…

That is all.

The Electoral Commission needs to verify the membership before approving registration. This can take six to eight weeks, so the deadline of Writ Day on 20 August is a tight target.

 Stuff reports that two other parties are yet to register.

Two other parties which applied for public funding for broadcasting during the election period, the Expatriate Party of New Zealand and the Truth, Freedom, Justice Party are yet to submit registration applications to the Electoral Commission. 

If they do not do so, or the applications are rejected, the funds will be shared among the other parties.

 

Civilian Party struggling for numbers

The Civilian Party is struggling to get the number of members needed to register as a party in time for the election. Newstalk ZB reports.

Civilian Party short of members for general election

In a Facebook post this morning, party leader Ben Uffindell confirmed his party is 55 members short of the 500 it needs to register with the Electoral Commission.

A political party must be registered by the 20th of August to be eligible for the election, and with processing time taking six to eight weeks, time is short.

The Civilian Party Facebook post:

ATTENTION FANS AND CONSTITUENTS: THIS IS A CALL TO ARMS (AND PEOPLE):

Good morning, nation. Over the last week, the Civilian Party has been hard at work putting together our final application for registration with the New Zealand Electoral Commission, a process that will allow us to contest the party vote nationally, and restore this country to its former sort-of-alrightness.

This has been a strenuous task, one that involved countless hours of sleep, and even more staring at the television while groaning and occasionally punching a few numbers into a spreadsheet. Indeed, after being pushed to such limits, we are now more than certain we are prepared for the colossal workload that will be entrusted to us as the future Government of this realm.

The bulk of our task these last couple of weeks has consisted of tallying and vetting every one of the hundreds of membership forms that we received from around the country. It is my wish that I could personally thank each and every one of you – from the elderly who braved the use of an electronics payment system, to the man who very generously sent us oral lubricant – and it is my hope that, when this workload has blown over, I will be able to.

But alas, there is also a downside to this story. The final tally of our membership has been significantly reduced by a large number of erroneous applications; perhaps quite a few more than expected.

Being a joke party makes them more of a target for joke applications.

While some membership applications seemed perfectly legitimate at first, as was the case with one Mr. Cock Balls, they began to show signs of difficulty upon further inspection. Mr. Balls, for example, claimed that he was born next year, which leads us to only one conclusion: he is too young to be eligible to join our party.

It is with a heavy heart that we decided we could not accept these applications, nor could we accept any of the 62 separate applications from Mr. Donghau Liu, with whom we have no relationship that we presently remember*.

Our final tally of paid-up members comes to 445, just 55 short of the 500 we need to register with the Commission. This is where you come in.

You will have to forgive our lack of eloquence on this Thursday morning, in part because we have a cold, but also in part because this message is urgent enough that we need to get it out there as quickly as possible.

We need any of you – any of you – who support the causes this movement represents, and who have not yet joined the party, to sign up today at www.thecivilianparty.org.nz/join-us/.

If we cannot secure the remaining 55 members we need, the future of our political movement is in serious jeopardy, and not the kind where we get to go on TV and give Alex Trebek fun answers in the form of questions.

But this isn’t merely a one-sided deal. As a political party thoroughly committed to your interests and ideals, we want to make you the following promises if we are successfully registered with the Commission.

If it reaches 500 financial members, the Civilian Party will:

– Stand in national elections, and field multiple candidates.

– Run advertisements on television, radio and small, obnoxious portable billboards.

– Hold an annual AGM, the first of which will take place in August, where members can attend and have their say on party finances, the party platform and candidates.

– Attend any and all televised minor party debates, whether invited or not.

– Ice cream.

Nation, we have come so far, and gotten so close. All that we need now is one final push; just a few more. This is your chance to make a real difference; your choice to become a member will literally help decide the political landscape going into this year’s election.

If you’ve already joined, we love you, but we ask you just one more thing: find just one person you know, and sign them up today. If a mere eighth of you did this, we would already be there.

To those of you who’ve sent us messages and inquiries, and haven’t yet received a response, hang in there. We’re getting to you, and once this application is over and done with, we intend to respond to everyone we can; which should, theoretically, be everyone.

The moment that we can verify that we have the numbers, we will inform you all immediately that New Zealand is moving confidently towards a brighter future, like a moth to a flame. Thank you once again for bringing us this far.

NewstalkZB followed up yesterday:

Civilian Party still a chance for Election 2014

The Electoral Commission says it’s still possible for the satirical Civilian Party to register for the election, should it get past 500 member threshold.

Despite there being fewer than eight weeks until the deadline – the upper end of the expected processing time – the commission’s not closing the doors just yet.

Civilian Party leader Ben Uffindell is confident they’ll make up the remaining numbers and successfully register.

There’s still time, but not much.

The Civilian satirical website was a big hit last year and this led to the launch of the party. Despite getting significant media attention and being a buzz on social media getting membership then obviously proved a battle. Satirical posts then dried up, as did attention.

They launched a membership drive again  last month with several posts, and they scored interviews on both The Nation and Q & A – attention any small start-up party would love to get, but most get ignored.

Despite this coverage they are obviously still struggling to attract enough members. The reality is that party administration can be a hard slog.

Actually joining a party may be a joke to far for many people.

In the meantime the satire has continued at a modest rate:

Internet Party warns that new leader Laila Harré
has gained ‘a lot of weight’ and is now German

 

Civilian Party and United Future announce campaign deal

The Civilian Party and United Future have announced a joint campaign deal similar to Internet-MANA.

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne and Civilian founder Ben Uffindell say it is a sensible union as there is more in common between them than between Kim Dotcom and Hone Harawira.

Both of them went to school and university in Christchurch.

“I lead a party and I’m a civilian, that’s exactly the same as Ben” said Dunne.

“We had a problem that people wouldn’t take us seriously, this shows that we can also be sensible” said Uffindell.

The parties had both experienced the difficulty of signing up 500 members, and both were relying substantially on the same donor for their campaign funds, the Electoral Commission.

The deal would combine the complementary age and experience of United Future with the youth and spoof of The Civilian.

The joint party will be called Civilised Future.

There were some obvious differences but Dunne said there were precedents, citing the obvious differences between Dotcom and Harawira.

He also pointed out previous parties with contrasting personalities, like Bill and Ben, and especially McGillicuddy and Serious.

Uffindell was looking forward to joint policy development, combining his fresh ideas with those of a wily old campaigner.

One policy that was likely to have appeal to voters of all ages was Flexi-Icecream. This would allow people to choose their own flavour.

Dunne and Uffindell will be joint party leaders. The rest of the party list will alternate between fishers, shooters and satirists.

They will differentiate themselves from other parties by targeting people who voted last election.

They were confident that Dunne’s experience with worms and Uffindell’s barbs would combine to catch a significant number of votes.

Civilian Party broadcast funding

There’s been criticism of the allocation of $33,635 broadcast advertising funds to the Civilian Party , notably from John Key and the Taxpayers’ Union.

“In reality, the Civilian Party will be thinking the biggest joke’s on us, the taxpayer,” Mr Key said.

Taxpayers Union spokesman Jordan Williams said for the party to accept the money to promote its policies of free ice cream and a llama for each child in poverty was “outrageous”.

“This is an affront to very important issues like health and education. It is absurd that while people wait for surgery, the Civilian Party receives $33,000 of taxpayer money for what is essentially a hobby horse.”

(NZ Herald)

Civilian Party founder Ben Uffindell responded.

“If we didn’t accept the money it doesn’t go back to the taxpayer, it goes to National, Labour, the Greens and Mana and they already have a lot of money – more than me – and they don’t need another $10,000 each,” he said. “The taxpayer is short $3.2 million no matter what happens.”

The funds are not guaranteed, the Civilian Party has to first confirm 500 members and register before they qualify for the funds. This is not as easy as some (including party founders) think.

The Civilian Party is referred to as a ‘joke’ party with some justification, like the website that spawned the idea to form a party it is based on satire and taking the piss.

But as for any party if the Civilian Party complies with the rules they should be included. The Electoral Commission can’t decide funding based on motivation and methods of any prospective party. Neither should the Prime Minister.

If it registers the Civilian Party has as much right to their allocation as any other party.

With rights come responsibilities. I hope that if they get the funds they use them wisely and usefully.

I don’t have a problem with their satire, their humour and their ridiculing of other parties and politicians. They could inject some serious light heartedness into the campaign. This could attract attention of people, especially younger people, who usually don’t care about politics and don’t care about participating.

The Civilian Party could potentially attract as many ‘non-voters’ to at least think about voting as Mana, Internet or even Labour, whose sourness and dourness is not exactly a top attraction.

Many people may claim that giving any money to political parties for advertising is a waste of money. Party political broadcasts are not riveting ratings successes.

But regardless, any party that complies with the rules should not be ruled out of the broadcasting handout.

At least the Civilian Party is a self aware deliberate joke.

The Civilian Party submission on the allocation of broadcasting time and money.

Party prospects for 2014

National will try to keep what they push through Parliament as uncontroversial as possible and be promoting the improving economic outlook as much as possible. They will sell Genesis shares and then try to consign their Mixed Ownership Model to the past. A number of their MPs have already announced their retirement at the next election, leaving openings for new talent.

Their ideal aim would be to get a majority on their own but this is very unlikely to happen (and National know this). Last election their +50% poll support eased back to a near majority but the electorate ensured they would need other party support. Their options for other parties this time are looking shaky but options are likely to emerge.

John Key will continue to hold up National support. He remains popular and despite some mistakes and lapses is mostly a masterful politician with an ordinary touch.

National would be doing extremely well to match their 2011 result (59 MPs) but are likely to ease back off this unless coalition options look unlikely and voters are scared too much by a lurch left alternative.

Labour have struggled to recover post Clark/Cullen. Goff never enthused the electorate and the Shearer experiment was a failure that took to long to rectify.

David Cunliffe did well to win the leadership battle but he has struggled to define himself clearly. He has become known for yeah/nah and talking out of both sides of his mouth to different audiences. This highlights one of his biggest challenges, how to satisfy the more left leaning party activists but attract the bigger centre-left vote. Tying Labour’s chances closely to the Greens makes this more challenging.

Labour are still very light on policies and what they have announced don’t look like election winners. Their power policy looked more like an anti-National anti-asset sale keep up with the Greens reaction rather than a well thought through policy. Their massive house building programme will worry voters about spending despite Labour’s claims the policy will eventually self-fund, and it also has a risk of appearing to be a housing lolly scramble that will only benefit the lucky.

Cunliffe had a few months to find his way followed by a timely holiday break. He has most of the year to define himself, his leadership and his party. Finding the right tone and an electable balance will test him.

Labour also have to grapple with the harder left and much closer association with the Greens – they have changed over this term from a major party competing one-to-one with National to a party dependent on the Greens as a minimum and possibly also Mana and NZ First.

Even if Cunliffe manages his own party’s political mix well Labour has to also hope that other parties to their left don’t scare the voters too much.

Labour should improve on their last election record low result (27%), but they have already conceded they won’t compete on their own with National. They will do well to make the high forties.

The Green Party Improved very well in their last term to fourteen MPs and had hoped to continue an upward trend, but polls have shown this may not be easy for them. They have pretty much flatlined – and this has been substantially helped by Labour’s lack of traction. If Labour rise then Greens will struggle to go up with them, they could even slip a bit.

The Green rise has created a problem. They have changed from a quirky environmental party with substantial partial support to a power player with aims of major financial influence in the next government. This scares many voters who otherwise like to see someone speaking up for the environment.

Russel Norman did well to appear as the de facto opposition  leader through most of the year but slipped back as Cunliffe stepped up. Norman has fought some good fights but there’s significant resistance to his economic leanings.

Co-leader Metiria Turei highlights a major Green contradiction – an obviously well dressed well fed academic upper middle class party fighting for the poor and fighting against poverty. They appear to be speaking for but not with their target constituency. Do-gooders out of touch reality.

And even on their environmental campaigns Greens are annoying some of their potential support. Most people don’t see a prosperous future for cyclists without jobs.

Green ideals of green energy and green jobs and green printed money look like little more than slick marketing.

And too much talk of taxing more to hand out more, of equal everything regardless of effort, is worrying many people.

Greens may do well to hold their number of MPs but may be disappointed in a lack of improvement, especially if Labour reverse their lacklustre efforts and make a bold showing.

NZ First are an unknown – will they make 5% or won’t they? Apart from Winston Peters their MPs haven’t made much of an impression, living in their leader’s shadow toeing his line ensures that.

Peters is showing his age and his lack of being anything other than a scattergun spoiler with far more failures than successes. Even his success last year were hardly election saving, some scored him for his attacks on Peter Dunne but his failure to back up his accusations with any evidence at all left a major taint.

In Parliament Peters is still prominent but it isn’t always pretty. He often seems to be struggling. He is fading.

And Peters cannot bet on being gifted the media attention he wangled over the cup of tea fiasco last election. His opportunism requires opportunities and he may not get them on a plate next time.

Last term Peters could devote all his time to campaigning. This time he has to share that with appearing to be credible in Parliament and running a party. It will be tough for him, and his toughness is waning.

Making the threshold is possible but will be difficult, especially if voters are scared off a Peters dictated coalition.

The Maori Party continue to struggle. They have to battle against their close association with the current Government even though they more often vote against National. And they have struggled with leadership transition.

Te Ururoa Flavell will have to step up as Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia retire. And the party will have to compete against strong Labour attacks on their electorates.

They should hold a seat or two, but that would be slipping from their current three.

The Mana Party should be safe with Hone Harawira’s seat and could manage to rise to also get a list seat but that’s as far as they are likely to get. On numbers that may not be a big improvement but it could put Mana into a powerful position of having the votes that decide a coalition, and also the votes that decide a lot of legislation if a Labour lead left bloc succeed.

This may help Mana’s chances of improving their party vote. But it may also make it harder for a left bloc to get enough votes to form a coalition – there is much wariness of a possible Labour-Green government but those concerns increase substantially with Labour-Green-Mana.

The Act Party is in disarray again. John Banks was a ring in that managed to succeed, but he is now dropping out under a major cloud. As has been the case for the last couple of elections Act is being written off by many.

But they have a chance of surviving. John Boscawen is working hard in the background and is determined to revive their fortunes.

If Act can come up with a viable candidate for Epsom they could hold that electorate (with National’s help). And if that candidate looks genuinely Act and they can put up a strong list they could be seen by voters as a legitimate alternative to National to get another seat or two. But it’s a big task.

United Future are again totally reliant on Peter Dunne. Last year was disastrous apart from the surge in membership, but if the party doesn’t get it’s act together that may hope may have been in vain.

Dunne has a reasonable chance of holding Ohariu. This will depend a lot on how much help he gets from National (it seems likely he’ll get some) and how strong a candidate Labour pout up and how strongly they contest the electorate. Greens have effectively left the electorate up to Labour by withdrawing Gareth Hughes from contention reducing the chance of splitting the left vote.

Dunne will have a big battle on his hands but seems determined to have a go at redeeming himself. He may succeed.

But United Future continues to have a major problem appealing to voters. The party is not doing a good job of even appealing to their new member base. Unless there’s a major change in approach, or unless they manage to recruit more high profile electable candidates, United Future will remain, at best, a single MP party.

The Conservative Party currently has every opportunity of making a mark. John Key has indicated he may boost their chances to help National, and late last year the media flocked to Colin Craig. This gave the party a huge lift in exposure, but it wasn’t always good exposure. The party didn’t lift in the polls.

How much help National give the Conservatives will determine their chances, especially if Craig is given a win-able electorate by National. That could get them one MP. And it could help their chances of making the 5% threshold. But that is still a huge target for an MP-less party that has stayed in the 1-3% range in the polls.

If money can buy power then Colin Craig make make it, but a huge budget failed last time. This time round it’s too soon to call.

The Civilian Party is a wild card. It has been promised by Ben Uffindell, riding on the success of his satirical blog. Starting a political party from scratch is a much bigger task, but Uffindell has proven he is innovative and smart, and has made a lot of friends in the media.

Uffindell’s biggest challenge will be motivating a younger constituency to vote, and to vote for non-status quo. How he approaches this will be interesting. How the party is positioned may matter in the balance of votes, even if The Civilian Party fails to make the threshold.

There’s huge disillusionment in New Zealand politics. If Uffindell sell something different and tap this huge voter base it could get interesting. Of course this depends on whether Uffindell launches a serious party or not.

Offering something entirely different has far more chance of interesting a few of the many who opt out of voting, and The Civilian Party may have a much better chance of doing this than the Labour-Green approach of convincing the dis-enfranchised that the same old socialism is worth voting for.

It will be an interesting year. It could be very interesting.

Any appeal in new parties?

Most people are disillusioned and/or angry with politics. Most of the current parties are looking past their Use-By date.

There are a number of possible new parties offering themselves next year, including:
– (Colin Craig) Conservative Party
Act V
– Dotcom Megaparty
– (Matthew) Hooton Tootin’ Party
The Civilian Party

What would appeal to the politically dispossessed? Any of the above?

Yeah, I know it’s difficult to get the opinions of people who are pissed off with politics because they don’t read political blogs. In 2011 I floated a radical new party idea trying to appeal to people who don’t like the current offerings, but people in politics rubbished it and people not interested in politics never noticed.