].>> If you're wondering why New Zealand is trending on Twitter Wednesday, it's not because it's the site of more Lord of the Rings films, but rather a second home to another type of overlord, billionaire, Silicon Valley investor and Donald Trump advisor Peter Thiel.
The New Zealand Herald revealing Thiel became a citizen of the far-flung country back in 2011, something that's not so easy to do given he would have had to spend at least 70% of his time over a five year period to acquire the status as dictated by New Zealand's government.
Whether Thiel actually did that is unclear, but what he has done is spend lots of money there, including purchasing a $10 million estate and pouring millions into local startups, according to the New York Times. That kind of foreign investment seems kind of at odds with Trump's America first policy leading some to wonder whether Thiel has a backup plan to head for New Zealand's famously greener pastures.
The revelation also sparking concerns that Thiel, who was born in Germany and is a naturalized American citizen may have received special treatment by New Zealand for having very deep pockets. A spokesman for Thiel declining to comment to the New York Times. If not to hedge his bets, the paper did point out one clear and perhaps admirable motive for Thiel's Kiwi status.
The billionaire is a huge Lord of the Rings fan having called some of his investments Mithril, Palantír, and Valar, familiar names to J.R.R. Tolkien fans.