Bill and Ben Party
|Leader||Ben Boyce and Jamie Linehan|
|Dissolved||29 April 2010|
|Ideology||Joke political party|
The Bill and Ben Party was a New Zealand joke political party formed in 2008 and voluntarily deregistered in 2010. The party's leaders were Jamie Linehan and Ben Boyce ("Bill" and Ben) of the TV3 satirical sports show Pulp Sport. In the 2008 general election the party secured 0.56% of the vote, outpolling every other party not in parliament prior to the election (New Zealand First, a party in parliament prior to the election, failed to gain representation in the subsequent parliament). It gained the ninth-highest number of votes out of the 19 parties standing for election.
As a joke political party, it shared a rich and varied heritage with the former McGillicuddy Serious Party and Imperial British Conservative Party, both humorous political entities that contested New Zealand general elections from the 1970s until the late 1990s.
On 1 July 2008 the party applied for registration with the Electoral Commission, which would allow it to contest the party vote. The party was registered by the Electoral Commission on 29 July 2008. On 31 July 2008 the party applied to register a logo with the Electoral Commission.
The party states that it managed to secure its required 500 members for Electoral Act registration after locating the requisite number of inebriated university students outside a student drinking establishment.
2008 general election
For the 2008 general election, the party chose not to apply for the $10,000 in advertising money that all political parties are entitled to. It felt this was a waste of taxpayer's money, and self-funded its advertising. This also meant that it did not qualify for a TVNZ Political Party Opening Address.
It stood on a "no policies, no promises, no disappointment" platform and had the slogan "We're putting the party back in political party". It is understood New Zealand First Party Leader Winston Peters took exception to one of its election signs, which used the phrase "C'mon, you voted Winston in".
In the election on 8 November, the party secured 13,016 votes (0.56% of votes), allowing a refund of the $1000 party registration fee. It put the money on the bar in Invercargill as it received more votes from there than anywhere else.
Even though it was a joke political party, it out-polled all but one party (New Zealand First) that did not gain representation in the last election, including every other new party: the New Zealand Pacific Party, The Kiwi Party, The Family Party, the Workers Party and the Residents Action Movement. It gained the ninth-highest number of votes out of the 19 parties in the election, and would have earned a seat if there had been no electoral threshold. It spent NZ$3,777 on advertising, $0.29 per vote, making it the most effective party in terms of dollars per vote.
Due to the way that mixed member proportional representation works, had the party crossed the minimum 5% threshold required to be admitted to parliament without an electorate seat, the total number of MPs would have been reduced by about four (an "underhang"). This is because 5% of the vote would entitle it to approximately six MPs but it had only two candidates (Bill and Ben) on its party list. However, the underhang would have partially been cancelled out by the Maori Party's overhang, having won five electorate seats when entitled to only three by the party vote.
2009 Mount Albert by-election
Ben stood in the Mount Albert by-election on 13 June 2009 and secured 151 votes (0.76% of the vote), coming fifth. This is an improvement on the 0.38% party vote obtained in Mt Albert at the 2008 election. He out-polled the candidate from United Future New Zealand, a former MP, and every other micro party and independent candidate, including the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and The Kiwi Party.
- "Applications to register parties and a party logo". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 2008-07-01. Retrieved 2008-07-03.
- "Electoral Commission meeting summary". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 2008-07-29. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
- "Applications to register a party and a party logo". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
- "Bill and Ben putting 'party' into party". NNew Zealand Herald. 2008-08-11. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
- Glucina, Rachel (31 October 2008). "Putting the party back into political party". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
- Chief Electoral Office: Official Count Results: Overall Status Archived February 9, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Election Results -- Overall Status". Chief Electoral Office. November 2008. Archived from the original on February 9, 2009. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
- "There's one reason to support the flower pot men". Stuff.co.nz. 2008-11-04. Archived from the original on 2008-11-07. Retrieved 2008-11-07.
- "Application to cancel registration of political party and logo". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
- "Amendments to the Registers of Political Parties and Logos". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 2010-04-29. Retrieved 2010-04-29.