Thiel appeal or squeal

The Government has defended it’s decision to grant Peter Thiel New Zealand citizenship saying he is a great ambassador for new Zealand, while others have slammed it, saying citizenship should not be able to be bought.

It was revealed yesterday that Thiel had spent just 12 days in New Zealand before being granted citizenship.

The Thiel issue seemed to become more prominent when his support of Donald Trump was publicised here.

It was revealed that Thiel was a New Zealand citizen in January of this year.

Stuff: Peter Thiel a ‘great ambassador’ for NZ

The minister who gave US billionaire Peter Thiel citizenship says he’s been a “great ambassador” for the country ever since – despite the fact Thiel kept it secret for six years.

The 12 days in the five years were spread over four trips.

What I find curious is why Thiel would seek citizenship here. Did he make the first approach or was he encouraged to apply?

The PayPal co-founder and Trump backer has never lived in New Zealand long-term and made clear in his application he didn’t plan to any time soon.

Thiel’s citizenship appealed to the Minister of Internal Affairs when the citizenship was granted, Nathan Guy, who…

…gave Thiel a special grant in the “public interest”.

Guy said he stood by his decision in 2011.

“This guy has made a significant investment here in New Zealand. If you think back to 2011, at the time we were coming through a GFC, we were rebuilding Christchurch, and this individual had stepped up and said ‘yes I want to be a part of the rebuild,'” Guy said.

“He’s a great ambassador and salesperson for New Zealand.

Thiel’s application noted his considerable investments in New Zealand technology companies such as Xero and Pacific Fibre. There was also discussion of a $1 million donation to the Canterbury rebuild.

The exact amount of time that Thiel spent in New Zealand before gaining citizenship was redacted by the Department of Internal Affairs when they released documents relating to the application as they ruled it would infringe on his privacy.

There is a provision for a shorter period of presence in the law, where a resident only has to spend 450 days in a 20 month period before applying – but Thiel only spent nine days in New Zealand during that period.

“He’s promoting New Zealand all the time, to people in the US, it’s a very important market.”

Guy had signed 833 special citizenship grants in his time as internal affairs minister, but he couldn’t recall whether any other citizens had been granted citizenship after so little time in the country.

“I back the decision in 2011, I back the decision now.”

Prime Minister Bill English…

…said Thiel had been committed to New Zealand and he was happy with the contribution he had made to the country.

English has defended the Government’s decision to grant him citizenship, saying Thiel had “demonstrated his commitment to New Zealand” over the last 11 years after becoming a resident in 2006.

“There’s 200 to 300 cases a year where they don’t quite fit the criteria or there’s some overriding public interest, and the minister acts on the advice of officials as to whether it is generally appropriate for that person to become a citizen.”

Asked if Thiel had “bought” the citizenship, English said “it’s just someone who is able to contribute, that includes investment, and we are happy with the result of that.

But there’s been sqealing as well.

Labour leader Andrew Little…

…said the government needed to explain why they gave him the citizenship.

“It doesn’t look like exceptional circumstances. It looks pretty dodgy,” he said.

Labour immigration spokesperson Iain Lee-Galloway…

…said it was clear that Thiel wanted citizenship in New Zealand so he could have a “bolthole” in the South Pacific.

“It’s extraordinarily unusual, it goes way beyond exceptional circumstances,” he said.

It does seem an odd case of citizenship granted, but has any harm been done by this?

How much has it benefited New Zealand?

Is all the publicity good transparency?

Will the publicity affect what Thiel has to do with New Zealand from now on?

Will that change if the Government changes in September?

If Thiel visits new Zealand will media harass him?

42 Comments

  1. Bill Brown

     /  June 30, 2017

    Oh at last Labour and Andy Little have something to really change the public perception of their party 😂

    • lurcher1948

       /  June 30, 2017

      Lets not forget the South African family leaving because of their blind daughter, her dads a farm manager not a yank looking for a hidey hole in the Pacific with heaps of KOHA.
      Another reason why I will NEVER vote for the corrupt national party

  2. Pickled Possum

     /  June 30, 2017

    After watching Nobody Speak a doco on Hulk Hogan Vs Gawker. I was a perturbed to see how Big money could close down free press. Peter Thiel involment; his own personal agenda in this case showed how this could work.
    PS … there is no showing of the HH sex tape altho it is about this. ☺

    • Anonymous Coward

       /  June 30, 2017

      In the US the ‘biggest’ money always wins, and not just against speech but also against innovation.
      You may be interested to know that the lawyers that represented Hogan in that case are now working against Techdirt in the “Inventor of Email” suit. This case was also brought against Gawker but they had to settle as they were running out of funds, leaving it unresolved as to wether the guy actually invented email ( which he clearly didn’t). It is not clear if Peter Thiel is still funding it, but Techdirt is digging it’s heels in as a settlement doesn’t stop the lie.

    • Anonymous Coward

       /  June 30, 2017

      “I was a perturbed to see how Big money could close down free press.”

      After reading some reviews it would seem the doco is slanted/biased in such a way that that is exactly what you’re supposed to walk away with.

      Do you think that they had a first amendment right to publish the sex tape? And did they have a first amendment right to out Peter Theil as part of an editor’s agenda?
      And should a ‘free press’ be outside “free speech” laws?

      • Pickled Possum

         /  June 30, 2017

        No … the sex tape should never be shown. Icky in Infinitey
        Yes … to Peter Thiels and editors agenda
        No … free press should not be outside free speech laws.
        Defamation slander are different beasts all together tho.

        • Anonymous Coward

           /  June 30, 2017

          So it was Ok to out a closeted gay man? (bearing in mind, also, that the logic of the editors stance doesn’t add up)

      • Anonymous Coward

         /  June 30, 2017

        You’re two ‘no’s’ put your position that the court case was justified.
        Your issue, it would seem is with Thiel. What if Hogan had a pro-bono lawyer that had won the case for him? The judgement would still have meant the end of Gawker.
        Thiel or no Thiel, Gawker bought this upon themselves.

        • Pickled Possum

           /  June 30, 2017

          Agree that Gawker needs to own some responsiblity for their bankruptcy. But I have found daily mail and other gossipy publications worse. My concern is not Peter Thiel the man but what people of his ilk are capable of when the dollar is involved. If HH had a pro bono lawyer I am certain things would have turned out differently and maybe the doco would never been made.
          “The court case being justified” …. having sex with your best friends wife knowing husband liked to watch and video the ‘episode’ imh view the courtcase is NOT justified. Having sex with whoever you feel like, is now even more dangerous scandalous outrageous and some may say glorious victorious than ever before. Sex scandals and tapes are now very common. My mother often said “That Mandy Rice Davies or Christine Keeler” when making refference to woman of dubiousness. Gotta go now but I have to say I am not a fan of any of these publications or any of these people mentioned in this conversation. All playing for the highest dollar

          • Anonymous Coward

             /  June 30, 2017

            You’re starting to contradict yourself.

          • Pickled Possum

             /  June 30, 2017

            Ok whatever you say ac.you are entitled to your view. Over and out.

  3. lurcher1948

     /  June 30, 2017

    It could have been worse,it could have been a shorter time, with a larger donation.

    • Gezza

       /  June 30, 2017


      You’re definitely upping your game, Lurchy. Good man.

      Carry on.
      Sir Gerald.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  June 30, 2017

      The donation was to the Canterbury rebuild, not the National party Lurch.
      Residency was given to him by Labour, citizenship by National
      Both were given on the recommendation of officials, so basically a rubber stamp.
      Really not sure where the story is in this one.

      • Blazer

         /  June 30, 2017

        come down to earth duck,and you will see the…’story’…you are flying too high…..

        • High Flying Duck

           /  June 30, 2017

          I can’t a manage a starting point of ‘outrage’ on every issue Blaze. Usually I need to see something wrong before that happens.
          Kim Dot Com I could get worked up about – the immigration minister overruled officials who said he was not suitable for residency to let him in anyway.
          Thiel has invested significantly in NZ businesses, has supported the Canterbury rebuild and has entrepreneurial instincts that can only benefit NZ.
          Immigration officials thought he met the extraordinary circumstances criteria and recommended he be given citizenship as they did when he went for residency.
          This is not a matter of ministerial overstepping or rules for the rich – this is one of 833 this minister has signed.
          Let me know what I’m missing?

          • Blazer

             /  June 30, 2017

            you are missing ,he stopped here for 12 days and said he has no intention of…living here.He invested in Xero,sold out and took the profits.The Govt pay him millions for his ‘spyware….via his coy..Palantir…its called a one way..street.

          • Gezza

             /  June 30, 2017

            I can’t a manage a starting point of ‘outrage’ on every issue Blaze.

            Few people can. There does seem to be a very tiny number of *people* who can seemingly nevertheless manage this feat immediately upon waking up every morning & finding that, unfortunately, & fundamentally, nothing has essentially changed for them since yesterday. Mostly, I think, it’s recommended they get counselling. And some of them might even come here to get it in the hope they might benefit from it. I dunno. Further observation seems to be called for.

  4. Corky

     /  June 30, 2017

    Can’t see a problem. We get his money. He supports some of our companies. We only have to put up with him for 12 days of the year. All he wants in return is our passport. That passport gives him a better chance of not having his head chopped off. It will withstand a cursory investigation in some third world shit-hole, and will not attract attention.

    Now compare that to our quota of immigrants and refugees, and the myriad of problems they dump on the taxpayer. People forget, or don’t want to acknowledge…wealth has certain privileges not assessable to peon’s.

    • Blazer

       /  June 30, 2017

      His citizenship should be revoked.Corky…’we get his…money’…do tell!Thiel must be laughing his tits off revealing what a ‘sound economic manager’ Stephen Joyce is…some partnership….taxpayers basically got their money back,Thiel pocketed over $20 mil,but the NZ taxpayer was on the hook for all losses.You couldn’t make this shit up.He tossed a mil into the Christchurch earthquake fund….big of him.Typical National, fawning over people with money and giving them some more courtesy of NZ taxpayers…Saudi prince…here you can have some …too.Lets hear exactly what this German citizen has done for NZ ,besides make the Govt look like a bunch of gullible,backwater ,incompetents.

      • “His citizenship should be revoked”

        Well, it won’t be unless he commits a serous crime or he lied in his application.

        Rage against the machine as much as you like.

        • Blazer

           /  June 30, 2017

          it can be…Govts can change the rules.

          • puhleez, your crowd?

            Bill Liu and friends.

            • Blazer

               /  June 30, 2017

              Which Bill Liu ?The one with the invisible bottle of wine,$100,000,Maurice Williamsons next door neighbour …a friend,not a..friend!Hilarious.

            • It’s interesting that name comes up on the day that Shane Jones makes his political comeback. Why did Jones ignore the recommendation of DIA officials to decline Liu’s application for citizenship when even he knew there were doubts over Liu’s true identity?

              http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/6968018/Jones-aware-of-identity-questions

            • Blazer

               /  June 30, 2017

              the moral of the story…money talks…

              ‘In March it emerged that Chinese businessman Donghua Liu donated $22,000 to the National Party not long after he was granted citizenship. It later emerged that Liu was facing domestic violence charges, and that minister Maurice Williamson had telephoned police to check whether the case was on “solid ground”. Williamson was forced to resign.

              Shane Jones was stood down from his Opposition portfolios, while the Auditor-General investigated his handling of an immigration application from donor William Yan, otherwise known as Yang Liu or Bill Liu.’Stuff.

      • Corky

         /  June 30, 2017

        Two things.

        1- People forget, or don’t want to acknowledge…wealth has certain privileges not assessable to peon’s.

        2- You have a vote. Use it. Lets see if the people of New Zealand agree with you at election time. If they don’t, you may want to consider a permanent shift to ‘The Standard.’

        Make that three things:

        3- Lets compare the continual taxpayer support we give to immigrants and refugees, and compare that to the supposed benefits Thiel received.

        Don’t let hate cloud your ability to do simple maths…..Blazer.

        • Blazer

           /  June 30, 2017

          show me the…benefits,the taxpayers have already lost ..over 20 mil!!

          • Corky

             /  June 30, 2017

            You are trolling…my comments are quite clear.

            • Blazer

               /  June 30, 2017

              no..you know and accept ..there have been NO benefits…for NZ.Admit..it.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  June 30, 2017

            Thiel making $20mil is not the same as the taxpayer losing it – the taxpayer lost nothing.
            The media speak of “barely breaking even” another way of saying there was a small profit.
            In the mean time the companies he helped fund now employ thousands of people in NZ.

            • Blazer

               /  June 30, 2017

              what companies?Taxpayers paid billionaire Larry Ellisons local Oracle entity…$17 mil …great work if you can get it.Saudi billionaire gets a lick as..well.Hopeless.

  5. Chris

     /  June 30, 2017

    THE LABOUR PARTY GRANTED HIM RESIDENCY!!
    Why the huge kerfuffle now?

    • Blazer

       /  June 30, 2017

      Labour did it too!…..he was faking …residency is NOT..citizenship.Comprenez.

      • Taking citizenship away AFTER granting residency is almost unheard of – barring criminality. What are you on?

        • Blazer

           /  June 30, 2017

          residency does not guarantee…citizenship….sharpen up.Not almost unheard of…at all.

  6. Blazer

     /  June 30, 2017

    NY Daily News…’The question remains however, why Thiel promised to champion the country only to keep his residency secret.

    “I can’t answer that,” Guy said. “That’s something you’d need to get from Peter Thiel.’

    • John Schmidt

       /  June 30, 2017

      What exactly did you expect him to do. Is the expectation that anyone who gains citizenship must now run full page ads of the fact in every major newspaper followed by a massive fireworks display over the Auckland Harbour bridge followed by a personal call to Blazer. Better stand by the phone for all the calls.