Questions remain about Thiel citizenship - Lees-Galloway
- Author: Ronnie Bowen Feb 02, 2017,
Feb 02, 2017, 0:44
The billionaire investor and vocal Trump supporter was able to secure New Zealand citizenship after "categorically" declaring that he has "found no other country that aligns more with my view of the future than New Zealand".
"Public interest arises from Mr. Thiel utilizing his skills in New Zealand and on behalf of New Zealanders and through his philanthropic activities in this country", the document reads before detailing Thiel's history of profit-making and donations he made to quake relief for the city of Christchurch. He had visited New Zealand four times before being granted citizenship but the department withheld information on how many days in total Mr Thiel had spent in the country.
"All of these traits make New Zealand a great place to a start a business".
The Intercept's Sam Biddle reported Wednesday that the New Zealand government released a 145-page dossier detailing Thiel's pursuit of citizenship in the country, which was initially denied on the ground that the billionaire had never lived in New Zealand and had no current plans to do so.
When considering Thiel's application, New Zealand officials noted that he had established a venture capital fund in New Zealand which had invested in a Wellington-based online accounting business, Xero.
The documents said that Thiel demonstrated his philanthropic side by donating NZ$1m to the Christchurch quake relief fund.
"I have consistently found New Zealanders to be open and friendly, with a "no nonsense" way of getting the job done".
Indigenous MP Says Australia Day Flag Burning Hijacked An Important Message
Separately, some performers at the Australian of the Year Awards last night backed a campaign to change the date of Australia Day. The police also confirmed that one man was arrested and taken to a local police station for questioning.
In his application, Thiel wrote that he owned a home in New Zealand but if he was granted citizenship, he would need to continue residing in the U.S.to manage his California-based companies.
In the January 30 issue of the New Yorker, Thiel was revealed to be one of many super-wealthy "doomsday preppers" who plan to ride out a crashing world economy and social disruption by absconding to private compounds in New Zealand.
His citizenship allowed him to purchase a 193 hectare estate in Lake Wanaka in 2015 with Overseas Investment Office approval.
However, Thiel's citizenship status only became publicly known following last month's newspaper report.
That claim last night attracted ridicule, with Labour Party immigration spokesman Iain Lees-Galloway noting this pride was well-concealed despite his application having being approved in June 2011.
He has been an important adviser to Trump, who has vowed to put "America first".