McGillicuddy Serious Party

From Academic Kids

The McGillicuddy Serious Party was a satirical political party in New Zealand. For many years, McGillicuddy Serious attempted to provide "colour" to New Zealand politics, and ensure that the political process was not taken too seriously. The party's logo, the head of a medieval court jester, was indicative of McGillicuddy Serious's status as a joke party.



The McGillicuddy Serious Party was founded in the 1980s in Hamilton as the political arm of Clan McGillicuddy, which had been established in the previous decade. 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 University of Waikato. They also included a number of street performers and comedic musical groups, such as the Serious Ukelele ensemble and the Big Muffin Serious Band (which released an album, Jabberwocky Goes to Town). Party candidates were at one point selected in trial by combat, (with newspaper swords and water balloons), the loser of the combat becoming the candidate. This policy was later replaced by standing several candidates for the same seat, (it being illegal for the same candidate to contest two seats, doubling their chances of election, but legal for a party to have two candidates staning in the same electorate, halving their chances). Clan McGillicuddy occasionally fought Alf's Imperial Army, a pro British re-enactment group who supported The Wizard of New Zealand and McGillicuddy's rival for the silly vote, the Imperial British Conservative Party.

McGillicuddy Policies

McGillicuddy Serious party's policies were selected on the basis of their absurdity and their impracticality. Central McGillicuddy Serious policies, constant throughout their existence were;

  • The "Great Leap Backwards", a return to a medieval lifestyle.
  • The establishment of a monarchy supposedly based on the Scottish Jacobite line, in the name of Bonnie Prince Geoffie (the reluctant).

Other policies at various times included:

(Or at other times the introduction of chocolate fish as legal tender).

(And New Zealand's Parliament Buildings).

(When the school leaving age was raised by an unambitious single year).

  • Full unemployment,

(Or, at other times, full employment through slavery).

  • Restricting the vote to those under 18 years.

(When the voting age was lowered).

(Previously free tertiary education having been replaced by a student loan scheme).

(New Zealand was at the time celebrating the centenary of being the first nation to achieve womens suffrage).

(After a goat was successfully entered into a local body election on Waiheke Island, the party unsuccessfully attempted to stand a hedgehog for parliament, apparently solely in order to make 'prick' jokes).

(There was controversy about the incredibly ugly sky tower, and the casino it advertises).

(a reference to the Royal New Zealand Navy's controversial the ANZAC frigate purchase).

(both the New Zealand Labour Party and the New Zealand National Party used the All Black victory in the Rugby World Cup in their 1990 campaigning - the All Whites stood about as much chance of winning the Soccer World Cup as Brazil have of winning the Rugby version).

  • An Indecent Society.

(the New Zealand National Party used the slogan "A Decent Society").

  • Post-natal abortion.

(an abortive attempt to launch a fundamentalist Christian party used abortion as a major policy).

(Tonga was at the time selling its passports to all comers, leading to a clamp down by other countries on people travelling under Tongan passports. Dan McCaffrey, Labour's 1990 candidate for Te Atatu had been accused by National's Brian Neeson of promising some Pacific Islanders New Zealand citizenship in return for their vote. McCaffrey threatened a defamation suit against his McGillicuddy Serious opponent, Kit Boyes, who was party spokesperson for legalised theft (taxation) - and more usefully, a law student.

  • Fixing accountants in soncrete and using them as traffic barriers.

(occasionlly accompanied by a pledge to steal other Monster Raving Loony parties other policies as well - so possibly a reference to New Zealand political parties accusing each other of stealing policies, or possibly not).

  • Good Weather.

(But only if voters behaved).

  • To break their promises.

Decline and Plummet

McGillicuddy Serious attracted a surprising level of support, and became one of the larger parties outside parliament. On a number of occasions, particularly with the introduction of the MMP electoral system, it was predicted that McGillicuddy Serious might actually win parliamentary representation, although this never happened. 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."

As time went on, McGillicuddy Serious began to encounter the problem that often appears in joke parties—a debate about exactly how serious it should be. The original founders of the party essentially saw it as "a bit of fun", aimed at providing humour and entertainment. This remained a major part of McGillicuddy Serious throughout its history. Later recruits to the party, however, sometimes saw the party's satire in a more serious context, believing that it was a tool by which the political establishment could be ridiculed and challenged. In particular, a number of anarchists joined the party, seeing it as an antidote to the traditional order. The dichotomy, in essence, was between "satire for fun" and "satire to make a political point". Many of the party's original members resented what they saw as a usurpation of their party for political purposes.

The 1999 election was the last election in which the McGillicuddy Serious Party participated. The 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 engaging in a public 'self-humiliation ritual'. A number of former McGillicuddy Serious members, however, went on to stand as candidates for "real" parties, particularly the GreensNandor Tanczos and Metiria Turei, both Green MPs, are former members of McGillicuddy Serious. Other prominent McGillicuddy candidates included founder Graeme Cairns, "Laird of Hamilton", KT Julian, Adrian Holyrod, Cecil G. Murgatroyd, (who subsquently stood against Australia Prime Minister Bob Hawke under the Imperial British Conservative Party banner), Mark Servian, Sam Buchanan, Steve Richards and Penny Bousfield.


A copy of the 1999 McGillicuddy Serious Party manifesto can be found at

Cecil Murgatroyd's election site is at;

Election results can be found at;

The Big Muffin Serious band's site is;


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools