It is the major political parties who lose the tens of
thousands of dollars allocated to satirical outfit the Civilian
Party for election advertising rather than the taxpayer, says
the party's founder, Ben Uffindell.
Mr Uffindell, the writer behind satirical website The
Civilian, has been targeted by lobby group the Taxpayers
Union and Prime Minister John Key for wasting taxpayer
funding after last week being allocated $33,635 in taxpayer
funds for broadcast election advertising for the coming
"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."
But Mr Uffindell told the Herald the money was coming from a
$3.28 million pool which would be fully allocated - mostly to
National and Labour - anyway.
"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."
If it went to the major parties the money would be spent on
"propaganda that's meant to brainwash people into believing
them over the other guy".
"Our insincere purpose actually brings a different
perspective ... which I think is a lot more valuable because
it adds something to our political discourse that we didn't
That different perspective was humour.
A spokeswoman for the Electoral Commission said it would not
comment on its preliminary funding decision. The funding was
contingent on parties allocated money being registered with
it when the House rose for the election on August 14.
Mr Uffindell was confident his party would be registered by
National Party pollster, blogger and Taxpayers Union
co-founder David Farrar said Mr Key should welcome the
funding from a Machiavellian point of view.
"One could say the sort of people the Civilian Party might
appeal to ... are unlikely to be National Party voters.
They're more likely to be ... the ones Mana the Internet and
Green party are probably going after."
- By Adam Bennett of the NZ Herald