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Barnaby Joyce: New Zealander of the Year?

Friday 25th August 2017

The Australian Deputy Prime Minister has received the second highest number of nominations for New Zealander of the Year.  

Australian Deputy Prime Minister and New Zealander of the year nominee Barnaby Joyce

Photo: Saeed Khan / AFP

In a rare case of reverse cultural theft (see Stan Walker, the Pavlova, Phar Lap, Neil Finn, etc) our fair country has claimed the embattled Australian Deputy Prime Minister as one of its own.

Barnaby Joyce has received the second most nominations for 2018's New Zealander of the Year.

Joyce recently became the latest Australian politician to be caught in a dual citizenship controversy, when it was discovered that though he was born in Australia, he was a New Zealand citizen by descent.

His father, James Joyce (!), was born in New Zealand and moved to Australia in 1947. 

Under the Australian constitution, anyone with dual citizenship cannot stand for federal election. The matter has been referred to Australia’s High Court. If Joyce is found to be ineligible for parliament, it will trigger a by-election and potentially put the Australian Government's one seat majority in the lower house at risk. 

The nomination comes after a thread appeared on subreddit r/Australia about 10 days ago in which it was suggested that people vote for Joyce. 

"Jesus.. It would be stunning if we were able to get Joyce high up on that list. Someone summon the internet," one user wrote.

"Internet here, I'll see what I can do," another responded. 

After nominations close on September 18, New Zealander of the Year organisers will assess Joyce’s eligibility “based on his citizenship and other criteria,” according to a press release.  

In total, 371 nominations have been received for New Zealander of the Year, with the most going to former Greens co-leader Metiria Turei. 

The 2018 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year will be announced at the New Zealander of the Year Awards Gala in Auckland on 21 February 2018.  

Previous winners of the New Zealander of the Year Award are: Taika Waititi (2017), Richie McCaw (2016), Sir Stephen Tindall (2015), Dr Lance O’Sullivan (2014), Dame Anne Salmond (2013), Sir Richard Taylor (2012), Sir Paul Callaghan (2011) and Sir Ray Avery (2010).



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Susan Strongman is an Auckland-based journalist at The Wireless. She is interested in social issues, human rights and people, but likes to spend her spare time with her cats.
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