The Civilian Party, which is promising free ice cream for all and free llama for poor children, is a step closer to being officially registered, but it could still be too late for this year’s election.
Today the group, which grew out of the satirical website of the same name, announced on its Facebook page that it now had 500 financial members, bringing New Zealand closer to “independence from Hamilton” and to replacing God Defend New Zealand with the theme to the movie Space Jam as the national anthem.
“[W]e are pleased to report that the future of this country is secure, and in a box, on its way to Wellington,” the group said, suggesting its registration application is en route to the Electoral Commission for assessment.
The application is cutting it fine, and could even be too late to have the party compete in the September 20 election..
A spokeswoman for the commission said today that applications generally took six to eight weeks, although that could be affected if names were ineligible or if a period of public consultation delayed the process.
Should the process take eight weeks, it would mean the registration would not be completed until after Writ Day on August 20, the last possible date for the party to be included on the ballot paper.
“The Commission is working hard to ensure that parties who plan to contest the party vote, and those who are currently going through the registration process, have every opportunity to have their registration complete by the 20 August deadline,” the spokeswoman said, adding that the commission had not yet received an application from the Civilian Party.
Civilian editor Ben Uffindell did not respond to requests for comment this evening.
The group attracted controversy recently when it emerged it could be awarded more than $33,000 in public funding from a pool of funds available for political broadcasting during the election period.
"In reality, most people are going to sit there and think 'what a joke', they are literally a joke - just like [the] Bill and Ben [Party] was," Prime Minister John Key said on June 9. Uffindell called the criticism “dishonest”.
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.
Does David Cunliffe need to resign as Labour leader?Related story: David Cunliffe's leadership on the line