Riff Raff Public Arts Trust

Riff Raff Public Arts Trust

Mayor's happy to let in Riff Raff

Richard O'Brien: Considers himself a Kiwi

Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/3790277/Mayors-happy-to-let-in-Riff-Raff

09 June 2010

The Rocky Horror Show creator Richard O'Brien's efforts to get permanent residency in New Zealand is getting support from his old home town of Hamilton.

Mayor Bob Simcock has written in support of the 68-year-old British-born actor and writer, who is appealing to Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson to be allowed to live in New Zealand.

O'Brien lived in Hamilton, Tauranga and Putaruru in his teens and early 20s before heading to Britain.

Mr Simcock said it was "nonsense" and is urging the minister to use her discretion.

"I cannot understand why they would not let him," Mr Simcock said.

Mr O'Brien's immigration adviser, Dion Smart, said his client did not fit the criteria for permanent residency or citizenship because of his age and was going directly to the minister and applying on the basis that New Zealanders have embraced him as a cultural icon. The application was being filed today.

Prime Minister John Key said yesterday that Immigration New Zealand had received no application from O'Brien and he should apply if he wanted to stay.

Mr Simcock said that O'Brien's contribution to Hamilton – where a statue of Rocky Horror character Riff Raff has been erected in his honour – and to New Zealand justified his being given residency here.

O'Brien said he considered himself to be a New Zealander regardless of what officials said.

"I am a solvent, self-sufficient individual who is grateful for a continued connection with the country I love. Home is where the heart is and mine has always been in the land of the long white cloud."

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