Electoral Commission grant to 'fun' political party criticised

ABBIE NAPIER
Last updated 13:05 07/06/2014

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Leader of The Civilian Party Ben Uffindell says the group will not be turning down a $33,000 grant from the Electoral Commission for its 2014 campaign. 

The Taxpayers' Union called the grant ''outrageous'' and said Uffindell should not accept the money because his party was just ''a fun project''. 

"It's bad enough that taxpayers have to fork out for political party propaganda, but for tax dollars to be given to a satirical party is outrageous,'' union director Jordan Williams said. 

However, Christchurch-based Uffindell said his party had every right to the money, and taxpayers had actually come out of the situation quite well. 

''The commission actually short changed us really,'' Uffindell said. ''We asked for $1 million and only got $33,000, so we got a bad deal really.''

Uffindell said The Civilian Party was ''not a joke'' and had every right to the funding as it met all the legal criteria for a legitimate political party. 

''We would not be allowed to accept the money if our party weren't real,'' he said. ''There are other joke parties getting funding, like the Conservatives and ACT. 

''You can't tell me people are taking Colin Craig seriously.'' 

Uffindell said he had 500 members financially backing the party's election campaign, and he had a duty to them to ensure the campaign went ahead. 

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