Thursday, July 28, 2022

Mike Hosking: Govt targeting high-value investors is no bad thing

Hold the front page, the Government has done something eminently sensible. The changes to the investment visas make some real sense.

Buying your way into a country without a proper contribution is an invite to simply have money parked and not necessarily being used for the betterment of New Zealand.

They didn’t actually need to raise the "Category A” up to $15 million. The amount is not always the key. The key is what is done with it. What is it invested in? How many jobs does it create? Does it start a new company? Does it expand a company? Does it take a business to the next level? Does it open up new markets? All of that is key to investment success.

If there is a downside to what they have done, it's the language test. Many years ago, a previous National government tried the same thing, it was an abysmal failure. Some people, many of them Asian, don't speak English as a first language.

Those people have the money and the intent. To punish them on language is something we will live to regret because we regretted it last time. It's astonishing whoever decided to bring this test back doesn’t do their homework. A mistake is one thing, repeating the mistake is stupidity.

That aside though, in a world where we are increasingly competing against other countries for talent, sending out the message that we are keen, but keen with positive strings attached will hopefully serve us well.

Although we have lost a lot of our lustre and we are no longer the magnet we once were, if the intent on our part is clear, honest, and the message is that money is one thing but what you do with it is the real key.

The outworking of that might well be a tangible improvement in the contribution new New Zealanders can make to the rebuild.

The new rules set the bar a bit higher, they ask more of a contributor, and aiming high rarely is a bad thing.

Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings.

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