Currently, a Kiwi icon is being denied New Zealand citizenship: Richard O'Brien, NZ-raised creator of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, has been told he can't retire here.
The British-born writer / actor is now appealing directly to the Immigration Minister for help. O'Brien lives in London, visits Noo Zuld regularly and wants to retire here...but doesn't tick all the boxes for citizenship or permanent residency. According to the rules "which must be obeyed to the letter", O'Brien (68) has to be 55 or under, and have a job offer – criteria that he doesn't fit.
Most people will know The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the 1975 movie filmed in B-grade style that's become a cult classic. Rocky is a dark funny musical about sex: the story of Brad and Janet, an innocent young couple on a road trip to visit Dr. Everett Scott, who match-made them in college. They're embroiled in a heinous celebration of transvestites, bisexuality, and human cloning. At its epicentre is a transvestite from the planet Transylvania, 'Dr. Frank-N-Furter' (Tim Curry: who'd have thought a man could look so good in corset and fishnets?). Meatloaf, Susan Sarandon and Richard O'Brien all star.
In light of his contribution to NZ, surely there can be case-by-case flexibility? He has two siblings living here, his son is applying for permanent residency... hell, we even erected a statue of him (as his Rocky character Riff Raff) in hometown Hamilton. You'd think giving him permanent residency would be a formality! So what's the problem?
PS: 02 August 2010 - The Immigration Dept may just have seen the light (over at da Frankenstein place)! Riff Raff, come on home!!
PS: 01 Dec.2011 - Finally!!!