American billionaire moves to New Zealand!
A number of incredibly rich Silicon Valley billionaires have been preparing for an end of the world scenario have been moving to New Zealand, considered to be the safest country in the world.
Billionaire Peter Thiel, for example, has bought a lakeside property near Wanaka in New Zealand for £4.5 million. He has also bought 193 hectares of land in New Zealand.
Similarly, a number of ultra rich tech entrepreneurs and investors from the Silicon Valley have been looking to buy real estate in New Zealand. Robert Johnson, president of the Institute for New Economic Thinking revealed that “hedge-fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway”.
Steve McGill, of Immigration New Zealand said that he hoped that Donald Trump’s election as the President of the United State would compel more rich people from the Silicon Valley to move to New Zealand. He said “There’s obviously been a political event in the States that’s seen at least our website taking a lot of extra interest. It’s exciting for New Zealand.”
As per the Immigration New Zealand Investor Plus scheme, overseas buyers can get a permanent residency status in New Zealand if they make an investment of NZ$10m (£5.8m) in the country over 3 years, and live in New Zealand for at least 44 days in 2 of those years.
“I guess one of the great and appealing things about New Zealand is our freedom of expression and our right to free speech. We don’t have any criteria in our policy that says to us ‘don’t let a survivalist in’. If they believe the apocalypse is coming, that’s fine. But they still need to achieve a certain set of criteria,” McGill added.
But not everyone in New Zealand is excited by the fact that so many rich foreigners are moving here. Iain Lees-Galloway, a top immigration spokesman for the main opposition in New Zealand, the Labour party, said that the government should discourage rich overseas buyers from investing in the country to prepare for a doomsday scenario.
“I think this sort of insurance policy approach is problematic. The truth is there is a lot of instability around the world. New Zealand is perceived as a very stable, very safe, very friendly country, so I can imagine that not just wealthy people but all kinds of people will be looking at New Zealand and thinking, ‘I’d like to live there’. We need to be able to respond to that and say we are going to do this on our terms. We are going to respond to the new reality on our terms,” Mr. Lees-Galloway said.
Graham Wall, a real estate agent in New Zealand does not mind that one bit. He is happy that rich billionaires are moving to New Zealand as that means more business for his real estate company. He does not care what has been motivating them to move to New Zealand, even if it is fear of a doomsday scenario.
Wall said, “Usually when people are being honest about why, they’ll say the difference New Zealand probably has over everywhere else on Earth is that we can choose our own immigration. If you’re in New Zealand, then you’ve been invited in. I think that’s quite a compelling thing for people when they feel a bit unsafe.”
“It’s all part of a trend. They used to buy villas in the south of France. Now they want a beautiful piece of New Zealand. Long may it last,” Wall added.
Author: Raghav Hegde – India