Wealthy foreign investors need to be 'really closely scrutinised' over contributions to NZ - commentator

Source: 1News

More than 200 wealthy individuals set to arrive into the country over the next year will need to be "really closely scrutinised" by the Government, commentator Bernard Hickey says. 

Thanks to two new border exemptions, 220 foreign investors shoulder-tapped by state agencies are expected to arrive.

Bernard Hickey told Breakfast they would have to be "really closely scrutinised" to avoid the "Peter Thiel" risk. 

US tech billionaire Peter Thiel was controversially granted citizenship in 2011 after only spending 12 days in New Zealand. 

Hickey said the Government's "once-in-a-generation" reset of the immigration system, announced yesterday, signalled it was going to bring in much higher skilled workers than in the past. 

Under this reset, the skilled migrant category will be reviewed and the country will move away from relying on low-skilled workers. 

Temporary workers and partners' working rights are also a key focus of the reset. 

"We will see some, for example, people on higher incomes, very wealthy, very well-connected people come in," Hickey said of the changes. 

Asked how the Government will ensure these soon-to-arrive wealthy individuals will be meaningful in the life of New Zealand, Hickey said this was "really tough". 

"You can be a big swinging executive from a movie studio and turn up and get a fantastic dinner on Waiheke and it looks great, but you're never really sure with these things," he said.

"Investments can be put into all sorts of places … You’ve also got people putting money into Government bonds, which hey, there’s no shortage of demands for those."