In 1977 when enacting the Citizenship Act, Parliament gave the government an "out" clause by allowing the Minister to grant citizenship where there are "exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian or other nature". So what proportion of the grants made under this clause are actually for humanitarian reasons? Fewer than half:
There is cause for fresh doubt over whether New Zealand has been selling citizenship.
Internal Affairs acknowledged today that fewer than half of the 138 people granted citizenship in "exceptional circumstances" by the Government since 2008 were approved on humanitarian grounds.
The statement comes in the wake of controversy over a citizenship grant to United States billionaire libertarian Peter Thiel, who helped fund US President Donald Trump's election campaign and was granted New Zealand citizenship in 2011.
But Internal Affairs spokesman Steve Corbett said "humanitarian reasons are less used than others".
He confirmed fewer than half of the grants had been on humanitarian grounds.
Apparently Internal Affairs can't give a detailed breakdown of the reasons for the other half because its too much work. They need to pull their finger out of their arses and provide this information. Because on its face, it looks as if the Minister (and Internal Affairs) are ignoring the clear intent of Parliament that this clause be primarily used for humanitarian reasons, and it creates a suspicion that it is being used to effectively sell citizenship to those who do not otherwise meet the criteria.
Meanwhile, we've also learned that the circumstances of peter Thiel's citizenship grant were practically unique and have not been repeated. Despite this, then-Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy claims not to remember a thing about it. Which is so convenient that it suggests very strongly that he has something to hide.
The government owes us answers on this - and if they don't provide them, we're fully entitled to assume the worst: that they are corrupt, and that New Zealand citizenship is for sale.