Rod Drury's plan to allow foreign billionaires to build bolt-holes in New Zealand is one of several ideas he will present to Parliament's Epidemic Response Committee on Thursday.
The Xero founder, who stepped down as chief executive of the ASX-listed company in 2018, has been testing support for three key initiatives to help New Zealand's economic recovery as it deals with covid-19.
The entrepreneur is not the only one keen to offer bolt-holes in New Zealand to foreigners for a price.
Last week a proposal for New Zealand to attract 2000 foreign high-net worthers to invest at least $50 million each here to create jobs in return for a New Zealand visa was said to be gaining momentum.
That concept was originated by investment banker Troy Bowker.
Bowker suggests high-networthers should have a proven good character and a successful investing track record; must invest, say, $50 million of capital, (equity not debt ) into productive New Zealand-based assets and employ more people.
The capital should be invested within a year of arriving otherwise their special visa is cancelled. All investors would be quarantined on arrival. If they follow through, comply with requirements, stay five years and prove their worth, they get a New Zealand passport.
Drury says his ideas are for the second wave of recovery, following what has to be done immediately.
One of them is loosening foreign investment rules to let billionaires purchase plots of land in key areas such as the Hawke's Bay, Queenstown and Northland, in order to stimulate the local economies.
Drury told BusinessDesk the reason behind the previous clampdown on foreign owners was really to deal with the Auckland housing crisis and that just isn't a problem now.
Drury reckoned if 1,000 sections were made available for foreign owners wanting to build luxury houses they could commit $5 million upfront each easily and straight away give architects and engineers work, with construction starting within 6 months.
"In my experience, these people are light on the consumption of roading, education and health, they pay GST and are very good at connecting to us to help businesses grow."
"I'm not saying give them passports," said Drury, who made headlines for supporting the citizenship of American tech entrepreneur and key Xero investor Peter Thiel.
Drury goes to the committee after having already spoken directly with associate finance minister David Parker who Drury admitted was "not keen."
"I'm not saying I'm right - but it's a good thing to talk about and it makes sense. It's emotional, but there are places like Queenstown where the tourism industry has stopped and we need to be able to stimulate the construction industry there," he said.
"The experience I've seen with Silicon Valley people here is that they love investing in local business, they have become second kiwis that they are evangelists and they get interested in food and lifestyle here.
"They usually come just at Christmas and one other time a year," he added.
Using wealthy foreigners to stimulate the economy is just one of Drury's ideas. He also wants to apply the ultra-fast broadband model, which saw a public-private partnership use a single tower infrastructure to get high-quality internet rolled out across the country, to the rollout of 5G.
The tech entrepreneur is lobbying Commerce Minister Kris Faafoi to push the Australian banks towards contactless payments.
"The work has already been done on the paywave issue but they haven't had the hard discussions with the banks to come up with the right architecture."
Drury will present on 10am on Thursday and is followed by KPMG agribusiness head Ian Proudfoot, business director Traci Houpapa, researcher Max Rashbrooke and NZ Initiative executive director Oliver Hartwich.