Rich refuge in New Zealand

Bloomberg reports that The Mega Rich Have Found an Unlikely New Refuge and “New Zealand’s isolation is a virtue amid terror, U.S. election”.

In the seven years since, terror threats in Europe and political uncertainty from Britain to the U.S. have helped make the South Pacific nation — a day by air away from New York or London — a popular bolthole for the mega wealthy.

Isolation has long been considered New Zealand’s Achilles heel. That remoteness is turning into an advantage, however, with hedge-fund pioneer Julian Robertson to Russian steel titan Alexander Abramov and Hollywood director James Cameron establishing multi-million dollar hideaways in the New Zealand countryside.

“The thing that was always working against New Zealand — the tyranny of distance — is the very thing that becomes its strength as the world becomes more uncertain,” (Hong Kong-based financier Michael) Nock said by phone from Los Angeles during a recent business trip.

Twice the size of England, but with less than a tenth of its people, New Zealand ranks high on international surveys of desirable places to live, placing among the top 10 for democracy, lack of corruption, peace and satisfaction. With its NZ$250 billion ($180 billion) economy dominated by farming and tourism, the nation last week overtook Singapore as the best country in the world to do business and was rated second to the Southeast Asian nation as the top place to live for expatriates in a survey by HSBC Holdings Plc. in September.

Safe from terrorism and territorial wars, and good for business.

Key, a former currency trader, once described New Zealand as “England without the attitude.”

I don’t see New Zealand as being anything like England – but I’ve only seen England from a long distance.

It’s changed leaders just twice in almost 17 years and the last hint of terrorism came a generation ago, when French spies bombed a Greenpeace campaigning ship docked in Auckland harbor in 1985.

Brexit has prompted a surge in interest in the far side of the planet, a long way from the worst of the world’s problems.

It’s that kind of stability that’s attracting a wave of Brexit-inspired migration to the island nation that gained prominence as the otherworldly backdrop to the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” films.

New Zealand received 998 registrations from U.K. nationals interested in moving to the country the day after the referendum on European Union membership, versus 109 the day before the vote, according to data from the immigration department. That grew to 10,647 registrations in the 49 days after June 23, more than double the same period a year earlier.

“If the world is going to go to hell in a hand basket, they’re in the best place they could possibly be,” said David Cooper, director of client services at Malcolm Pacific Immigration in Auckland, the country’s biggest migration agency. “People want to get the hell out of where they are and they feel that New Zealand is safe.”

And the perceived threats to the US by terrorism, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have worried some Americans.

Cooper has seen an uptick in inquiries from U.S. citizens over the past few months, he said, with the increasingly raucous presidential fight between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, as well as the recent spate of mass shootings, cited as reasons to flee.

And that’s before either Clinton or trump take over the White House.

Successful Kiwis who have worked in investment banking and other lucrative professions in New York and London are also returning home to raise their families, said Ollie Wall, a realtor with Auckland-based Graham Wall Real Estate Ltd.

“The world has got smaller,” Wall said in an e-mail. “You can run multinational corporations from paradise now. So why wouldn’t you?”

To an extent this is true. Most of my work yesterday was virtually in Cape Town, and on Wednesday I worked in Perth, remotely.

New Zealand has actively courted the wealthy. For an investment of NZ$10 million in local assets or funds over a three-year-period, migrants can qualify for residency provided they spent 44 days in New Zealand in each of the two latest years. These investors don’t have to speak English or live for a set amount of time in the country after the qualification period. They also don’t have to become tax residents.

Since the program started six years ago, 121 people have gained so-called Investor Plus visas, and more than 800 have secured a residency pass that requires a NZ$1.5 million investment over four years, government data show.

“It provides a bolthole, a place for ‘just in case’,” said Willy Sussman, a partner at Auckland law firm Bell Gully, which has worked with wealthy migrants from all over the world.

Some may not like money buying privileged refuge here, but it can be good for both business and tourism.

I am very happy to be living in one of the safest places in the world (natural disasters aside perhaps). And it has plenty of fantastic regions withi relatively short distances.

Leave a comment

30 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  4th November 2016

    So given the above, why are we wasting time importing third world refugees and Muslims?
    I have a wealthy relative who’s just returned home five years early from working at Lloyds of London( and as a name). Nice guy…but liberal through and through. So I asked him why he’s returned to ‘Hicksville,’ as he described our beautiful sanctuary 30 years ago. His reply was: ”New Zealand isn’t Hicksville anymore, and Britain ceased being Britain ten years ago.”
    True to his Liberal leanings he refused to expand on the British situation.

    Ah, real world experience teaches you real world lessons, no matter what your personal world-view is. People who haven’t travelled overseas have a tendency to hold ridiculous liberal thoughts on how things are and should be.

    Reply
    • @ Corky – The answer to your question ” … why are we wasting time importing third world refugees and Muslims?” should be obvious: As the servile class for our rich and mega-rich, of course.

      This wealth-import-immigration-in-exchange-for-land-and-citizenship is actually the basis of this nation.

      In its current neoliberal guise it’s been going on fairly blatantly since the late 80s, and especially since the early 2000s IMHO, under various guises, and, throughout, as much for financial security reasons as for personal safety-and-sanctuary reasons … Shania Twain et al purchased the newly privatised South Island for some reason … A multi-million dollar “place for just in case” … Will Aotearoa New Zealand’s ‘selling down the river’ never end …?

      “Investor Plus Visa”. Yeah, well, its good for us to know that citizenship is ranked in this sort of hierarchical way depending entirely upon wealth, never mind how the wealth was obtained or any other considerations … Here in the land of “equality” and “one rule for all”.

      I’ll assume I won’t be getting my Platinum Passport in the mail anytime soon …

      And, of course, we wouldn’t want to actually be different to anywhere else in the “real world”, even if we market ourselves as different. We wouldn’t want to set and maintain our very own standards …

      Reply
  2. Gezza

     /  4th November 2016

    Why do you describe your rolling in it rellie as a liberal?

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  4th November 2016

      ‘Why do you describe your rolling in it rellie as a liberal?’

      Because his world-view is liberal. His actions are liberal….and he only buys organic produce and has an Elanra ioniser in his car. Righties wind down the window to get their negative ions.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  4th November 2016

        Righties drive cars with electric window controls. Don’t give me that sort of nonsense Corks. 🕶

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  4th November 2016

          Er, lets keep the window winding thing to ourselves.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  4th November 2016

            Righto. And liberals can’t afford air ionisers. They have to walk or cycle down to the nearest beach or stream or creek for their dose of negative ions.

            Reply
  3. Blazer

     /  4th November 2016

    NZ has been a refuge for financial parasites for years.We don’t really need anymore using their ill gotten gains to buy up the country from underneath real productive Kiwis…

    a small sample(have dozens more)….https://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjD5Pzppo3QAhXMmpQKHQ_WAFUQFggbMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.telegraph.co.uk%2Fbusiness%2F2016%2F10%2F26%2Flloyds-bank-takes-another-1bn-hit-from-ppi-scandal%2F&usg=AFQjCNH0XOedBOqAfcQg689wWmbnR9_XDQ

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  4th November 2016

      Crikey, anyone who worked for Lloyd’s definitely would be a parasite, Blazer.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  4th November 2016

        you can pick your friends but not …your ..relatives.

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  4th November 2016

          Yeah, but my relative works for Lloyds of London. I said nothing about banks. Have you been overseas, Blazer?

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  4th November 2016

            yes I went to Devonport the other day..*sarc*…yes you did not mention banks,that does not mean Lloyds of London,has a clean record as far as financial chicanery goes.

            Reply
            • Corky

               /  4th November 2016

              ”yes I went to Devonport the other day..*sarc.” Good one!! If you have evidence Lloyds of London is dirty please present the evidence. But what has that got to do with the price of fish?

              The fact is you have been caught out mindlessly trolling…..perhaps you need to do a Zedd and move on to greener pastures.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  4th November 2016

      You mean our unemployable welfare load, Blazer?

      Reply
  4. David

     /  4th November 2016

    I’m still baffled as to why someone would move from the UK to NZ because the UK chose to leave the EU. Are they not aware that NZ is not part of the EU?

    Reply
  5. Corky

     /  4th November 2016

    Yeah..what? Where’s the dirt or fraud .? What you mention is old news.. Those problem arose from overexposure and wrong financial decisions. Something that can happen to any company or institution. If fact its the government regulators on trial for stuffing things up

    Worthless trolling again just because my relation worked for Lloyds, so he must be a parasite.

    Blazer / November 4, 2016

    “NZ has been a refuge for financial parasites for years.We don’t really need anymore using their ill gotten gains to buy up the country from underneath real productive Kiwis…

    Reply
      • Corky

         /  4th November 2016

        Crikey, I try to make it easy for you…

        Blazer

        “you said it..’Crikey, anyone who worked for Lloyd’s definitely would be a parasite, ”

        Yes, In reply to your comments about Lloyds Banks which you naturally assumed as you rushed to troll. Finding you stuffed that up, you scurried across the internet to dig the dirt on Loylds of London( expected). You then became an expert on the former. And sure enough look what popped up. To quote from your link:

        ”For their own gain, members of the Lloyd’s ruling Committee and other key market insiders deliberately concealed these losses from the rest of the Lloyd’s market, active Names, and prospective Names, when they had a duty to disclose them.”

        [Deleted – not for you to tell others what to do here. PG]

        ..

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  4th November 2016

          tell me a major financial institution in the U.S or U.K that has no record of misfeasance or chicanery….I bet you can’t.Since retail and investment banks have been de regulated fraud,money laundering and sharp practice have become de riguer…fact.

          Reply
      • Corky

         /  4th November 2016

        Crikey, I tried to make it easy for you.

        ”Blazerl

        you said it..’Crikey, anyone who worked for Lloyd’s definitely would be a parasite,”

        That’s was a sarc reply to your original post when you rushed to troll and assumed I was talking about banks. When you realised you stuffed that up, you scurried across the internet to dig the dirt on Lloyds of London( expected). Having found something you posted that like an expert. But, to quote from your link:

        ‘For their own gain, members of the Lloyd’s ruling Committee and other key market insiders deliberately concealed these losses from the rest of the Lloyd’s market, active Names, and prospective Names, when they had a duty to disclose them.’

        Reply
  6. I don’t have a problem with a controlled flow of overseas investment in New Zealand as long as it is regulated and “clean” money. I think we have enough “rich pricks” for the time being and certainly don’t need people who don’t want to live in their homeland. They are called “economic” refugees and should not be allowed to buy (steal) the limited number of available immigration slots we allow. NZ does not grant privilege on status or class.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  4th November 2016

      Well, in permanent residence visa terms, it appears it does on being wealthy, and that’s definitely a status here Bj.

      Reply
    • Corky

       /  4th November 2016

      Your bureaucratic demeanour has certainly slipped in recent posts, BJ. I put that down to the the pressures of the American election. Personally, I would rather have rich-pricks than some of what is welcomed in at the moment. I do agree about ‘clean money’ and the granting of class and status.

      Reply

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