By DEREK CHENG
09 June 2010
Rocky Horror Picture Show creator Richard O'Brien's chances of being granted New Zealand citizenship will be greatly enhanced if he actually applied for it, says the Prime Minister.
O'Brien, who was 10 when he came to New Zealand with his parents in 1952, has been told that he is not eligible for citizenship and was reportedly appealing to Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman.
But John Key said yesterday that no application from O'Brien had been received.
"I have subsequently checked with my officials and found that Immigration has received no application from Mr O'Brien.
"My advice to Mr O'Brien is, if he wants to live permanently in New Zealand, to lodge an application with the authorities and it will be considered, as are all other applications, on its merits."
It is possible that O'Brien was advised that he did not meet requirements for citizenship or permanent residency, and did not lodge an application.
A spokesman for Dr Coleman said speculation that a request had been denied was wrong.
"Nothing has been received so there is nothing to decline."
Dr Coleman would be open to considering Mr O'Brien's case if he applied, and would treat it like every other case.
O'Brien believed his application should be "rubber-stamped" in light of his contribution to New Zealand.
"I don't understand - they build a statue of me and celebrate me as a New Zealander, but I have to go on my knees and do all sorts of things, and I'm probably too old," he has said.
A statue was built in Hamilton in 2004 in honour of O'Brien's Rocky Horror character Riff Raff, the butler, on the site of the barber shop where he used to work.
He spent his teenage years and early 20s in Hamilton and Tauranga.
He left for London in 1964.
O'Brien, 68, wants to retire in Katikati, near Tauranga, where he owns a property.
Earlier Mr Key told TVNZ's Breakfast programme that he was a big fan of the Rocky Horror Picture Show and went to movie shows at midnight, where fans would dress up and dance.