Support grows for Kiwi muso's citizenship bid
Tue, 24 Jul 2012 3:11p.m.
By 3 News online staff / NZN
William Ricketts, member of globe-trotting Kiwi band Phoenix Foundation, is a step closer to citizenship following yesterday's media interest in his story.
The Wellington band's co-writer, percussionist and keyboardist moved with his family from London to Wellington in 1981, when he was two years old. But when he recently decided to become a real Kiwi and get citizenship, he was denied by Internal Affairs because he spends too much time overseas.
“[I’m] simply out of the country too long," he said yesterday, "and that's kind of ironic because I'm out of the country promoting New Zealand work."
A department spokesman said recommendations were made to the minister on set criteria, including that applicants had to have spent 240 days in New Zealand for each of the past five years.
Today though, Mr Ricketts says he's got backing from big names in high places.
"I have contacted the minister's secretary, she has promised to get her contact at DIA to call and advise me," Ricketts wrote on Facebook.
"Many are coming through in helping me put my case together tidily, including Labour MP Grant Robertson, Wellington lawyer Richard Fletcher, the NZ music Commission and my fantastic management."
The Phoenix Foundation plays regularly overseas - it needs to to survive - including gigs in Europe and the UK, and that's not going to change any time soon.
“We'll be looking to spend probably a third of next years overseas,” said singer Luke Buda.
The Minister of Internal Affairs is Chris Tremain.
The case echoes that of Richard O'Brien, creator of the Rocky Horror Show, who got New Zealand citizenship in December 2011 after a protracted battle with immigration authorities.
He moved to New Zealand when he was 10, and came up the Rocky Horror Show when he was working at a theatre in Hamilton.
3 News / NZN
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7/12/2012 7:34:28 p.m.
Not surprised wrote:
I also had my citizenship application turned down because of the number of times I had been out of the country in the few years before the application - the fact that I had been in the NZ Army for almost 30 years at the time and the overseas trips were mainly NZ Defence Force related seemed to be irrevalent! The decision was reversed when it was pointed out that I needed a NZ passport for an impending deployment. By the way - I have been in NZ since I was a boy and am married to a very lovely New Zealander.
24/07/2012 5:00:27 p.m.
Easy Goin' wrote:
We certainly got some bright ones in Internal Affairs, but maybe its because they got their heads somewhere internal. If they request my details, please don't give it to them citing 'source confidentiality'.
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