Veteran venture capitalist Tony Bishop has added his voice to calls for wealthy investor migrants to be required to channel a portion of their funds into productive, growth-focused New Zealand investments.
Close to $4 billion is set to be invested in this country through the current investor visa programme, which launched in 2009.
But around 80 per cent of migrant investor funds currently end up in government and corporate bonds, according to a paper published this week by professional services firm KPMG.
Business incubator The Icehouse is also calling for an immigration policy overhaul. Icehouse chief executive Andy Hamilton said at least 10 per cent of wealthy migrant capital should go into growth investments.
Bishop, of venture capital firm GRC Managers, said having so much migrant capital tied up in bonds was a missed opportunity.
"Allowing them to bring money into New Zealand which is going into bank deposits or bonds is senseless," he said.
Bishop said it would make sense for an organisation such as the government-backed New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) to manage the allocation of migrant funds into a variety of funds with different risk profiles, including early-stage and private equity funds.
"They - the migrants - could then choose the risk profile they want in terms of allocation of their money into each of those catagories and they would get [immigration] points given to them against those categories."
Allowing them to bring money into New Zealand which is going into bank deposits or bonds is senseless.
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Minister of Immigration Michael Woodhouse said the Government's recently approved Investment Attraction Strategy signalled a review of migrant visa categories to ensure they were attractive to entrepreneurs and investors.
"I've asked my officials to provide advice, including considering incentivising more active investment," Woodhouse said. "I expect to receive that advice in November so won't be speculating on any possible future changes until I have considered that advice."
Colin McKinnon, executive director of the New Zealand Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, said: "We encourage the Government to review the policy with a view to weighting favourably those asset classes that directly contribute to growing the New Zealand economy ... "