The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation

 

New Zealand Citizenship of Mr Peter Thiel (1 February 2017)

While the Department doesn’t usually discuss individual citizenship details due to the standard privacy considerations, there is sufficient public interest in Mr Peter Thiel’s case to warrant the release of further information requested under the Official Information Act.

Some of this information has been redacted for privacy reasons, due to commercial sensitivity, or to protect the free and frank exchange of opinions between public officials.

Around 30,000 citizenship applications are received every year. Of those approximately 300 (1%) are submitted to the Minister of Internal Affairs for individual consideration.

Some of these submissions will focus on where a sole eligibility criteria is not clearly met, while others may be considered on multiple grounds.

The assessment of applications under section 9(1)(c) of the Citizenship Act 1977 (Citizenship Act) takes into account the applicant's exceptional circumstances, as well as assessing any advantage, or positive benefit to New Zealand from approving the application.  All applications may be considered under this provision.

Since 2012, there have been 632 applications where the Minister has been specifically asked to consider Section 9(1)(c); of these 92 have been approved by the Minister as decision-maker.

Year

Number of applications approved under 9(1)(c)*#

Number of applications received

(approximately)*

2012

9

30,000

2013

23

28,000

2014

20

29,000

2015

12

31,000

2016

28

34,000

*note these figures have been manually compiled and therefore may be subject to error. 

# submissions may be considered under multiple sections of the Citizenship Act and may have been recorded against an alternate section.

As previously confirmed, Mr Peter Thiel applied for New Zealand citizenship in January 2011.  His application was approved by Ministerial decision, under Section 9(1)(c) of the Citizenship Act on 30 June 2011.   

Once citizenship has been approved, all applicants over the age of 14 must take either the Oath or Affirmation of Allegiance in accordance with the Citizenship Act for their citizenship to be effective.  The majority of applicants attend public ceremonies, however some applicants are unable to do this and they may attend a private ceremony.  

Since 2012, an average of 270 applicants attended a private ceremony each year.  Of these, an average of 24 people attended their private ceremony overseas. 

Mr Thiel attended a private ceremony at the New Zealand Consulate in Santa Monica in August 2011.

You can access the full information released today via the below link

The Department will not be making any comment on the information released and believes it answers all the requests submitted on the topic under the OIA.