Barnaby Joyce up for Kiwi of the Year

BARNABY Joyce has been named among the frontrunners for the 2018 New Zealander of the Year Awards.

New Zealand media is reporting the Australian Deputy Prime Minister is leading the nominations for the prestigious award alongside the former co-leader of the NZ Green Party Metiria Turei.

It comes one day after the Nationals leader's dual citizenship case went before the High Court in Brisbane, along with four other federal MPs.

Mr Joyce has been found to have been a New Zealand citizen by descent but the government has advice this isn't enough to unseat him.

If the court finds him to be ineligible, it will trigger a by-election in his NSW seat of New England, and potentially put at risk the government's one-seat majority in the lower house.

A spokesman for the annual awards has told the New Zealand Herald Mr Joyce's eligibility for the awards would be assessed after nominations close on September 18.

Mr Joyce's bombshell announcement that he could be a New Zealand citizen last week has thrown the government into chaos.

It also sparked a bizarre international relations spat with New Zealand last week after it was revealed a Labor staffer sparked the NZ authorities' investigation of Mr Joyce's citizenship status.

Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue QC told a directions hearing in Brisbane on Thursday there was a "clear demarcation line" between the politicians, those who had known they were a citizen of a foreign power and those who did not.

The politicians who did not know they were a citizen of a foreign country at any time may escape disqualification from parliament because it was less reasonable for them to take steps to find out if they had ties to other nations, he said.

This could apply to Mr Joyce, whose father was granted New Zealand citizenship retrospectively and passed it onto his Australian-born son without his knowledge.