Given that any idea is at least worth a look at times like these, you have to say the concept of the wealthy pitching in $50 million apiece in return for a visa is not a bad one.

It'll attract the usual xenophobic hyper-reaction, of course.

Its success though will, or should, depend on what sort of investment you're talking about.


Previously - before this government locked out a lot of foreigners driven by the combination of New Zealand First's dislike of foreign people, and Labour's sheer naivety over housing and the belief that stopping an American billionaire buying a $15 million bolt-hole was somehow going to help a first home buyer get into the bungalow market - this country was in fact open for business.

And that's the general theme we should be looking at.

Tourism is stuffed for a long while. Domestic travel will help, but it won't make up for the 25 per cent the Chinese and Americans provided.

And although housing is a bit of an open question at the moment, given no one really has a handle on what will happen given it's closed right now, we need to look at every and all opportunities to help where we can.

Making this a destination once again is the most obvious of starts.

We already were a magnet of sorts. What we take for granted is treasured by those that don't have it. A tiny place at the bottom of the world, isolation, an island, a sparse population and yet connected to the planet, and a level of sophistication in various areas that doesn't make us a backwater.

We are as appealing as it gets.

Troy Bowker's visa idea is a $100 billion idea. That's 33 per cent of our old GDP.


Equally, and perhaps much more accessible, is the housing market - especially for places like Queenstown, and those that rely on tourism. The world is full of people who may not have $50 million, but do have $10 million or $5 million. They are the ones that bought the big houses before.

The research showed they didn't tilt the market. They were just 3 per cent of the market - and that was just the offshore foreigners. Until the government decided we hated them, they were an important and lucrative part of the housing market.

A country needs to sell what it does well. We did tourism well, but for reasons out of our control, not now.

We still do farming and feeding well, we still export well, we are still an attractive jewel at the bottom of the world, for a house, for some land, for some investment, and for a future.

Just look at this place and put it on a brochure. If you can't sell that for top dollar, you don't know how to sell.