The McGillicuddy Serious Party
The McGillicuddy Serious Party (McGSP) functioned as a satirical political party in New Zealand. Between 1984 and 1999, McGillicuddy Serious provided "colour" to New Zealand politics to ensure that citizens not take the political process too seriously. The party's logo, the head of a medieval court jester, indicated McGillicuddy Serious's status as a joke party.
The party stood candidates in the 1984, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1996 and 1999 General Elections; the 1986, 1989, 1992, 1995, 1998 Local Body elections; along with various local body and parliamentary by-elections and even some university student association elections. Candidates included a number of street-performers and musical groups, such as Big Muffin Serious Band, Serious Ukelele Ensemble and Avant Garbage. The McGillicuddy's, outside of the Party, also regularly organised events such as the annual Jig on Sunday from 1998 and Avant Garbage (event).
Candidates in Hamilton Bands
- Penni Bousfield - Hell's Belles and the Hamiltones, Eighty Eight
- Graeme Cairns - Big Muffin Serious Band, Goulash Archipelago
- Ben Cauchi - Disjecta Membra
- Adrian Holroyd - Big Muffin Serious Band
- Paul Smith - Avant Garbage
- Nandor Tanczos - DJ
- Dominic Worthington - Avant Garbage, Johnny Fist
This list is incomplete.
The McGillicuddy Serious Party formed in 1984 in Hamilton as the political arm of Clan McGillicuddy (established in 1978). Members of the Clan had stood as candidates in 1983 local-body elections in the Waikato, but the McGSP was established in time to contest the 1984 General Election. The party had a strong Scottish theme, and the kilt was considered to be one of the party's symbols. Initially many candidates were students of The University of Waikato. Central McGillicuddy Serious policies in every election included a return to a medieval lifestyle, known as the "Great Leap Backwards" and the restoration of a monarchy supposedly based on the Scottish Jacobite line, in the name of Bonnie Prince Geoffie "the reluctant".
McGillicuddy Serious attracted a surprising level of support, and became one of the larger parties outside parliament. On a number of occasions, particularly following the introduction of the MMP electoral system, it was predicted that McGillicuddy Serious might actually win parliamentary representation, although this never happened. When the major parties boycotted the Tauranga by-election 1993, the McGillicuddy Serious candidate finished second to Winston Peters (A very, very distant second). Votes for McGillicuddy were most often protest votes, something that the party encouraged with one of its slogans: "If you want to waste your vote, vote for us."
The 1999 election campaign proved a disappointment. The McGillicuddy Serious Party gained only 0.15% of the vote, a considerable drop from its previous performances. Shortly after the election, the party was disbanded, with its leader Graeme Cairns walking around the square in Christchurch in winter with a sign hanging from his neck reading 'I am a liar' while informing people that he was "The only honest politician".