The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has been surveying the super-rich who have migrated here under the New Zealand Investment Attraction Strategy scheme to see whether everything is to their satisfaction. And wouldn't you love to see the receipts turned in at the end of that assignment?

Well, of course they say they're satisfied. Look who's asking them. Rich people are notorious for lying to the help and telling them everything is dandy just before they terminate their employment and sell their children for kindling.

But the survey did elicit some illuminating information about those members of the 1 per cent of the world's population who control 99 per cent of its wealth but still decide to migrate to New Zealand.

The ministry discovered that "rich foreigners love our country for the same reasons we do". That may well be true, especially if one of those reasons is that there aren't a lot of very rich people living here.

Advertisement

And it turns out that "making money isn't their main reason for arriving". Which is fortunate, because this country hasn't a terribly good environment for that at the moment. The Government is about to double down on the Investment Attraction Strategy.

The economic pump of the Christchurch rebuild has peaked, according to several economists, and the Prime Minister has determined "we won't get rich selling to ourselves", so the Government plans to get even more wealthy people here to put their money into the economy.

This may happen up to a point. But they are equally likely to take advantage of the good bits here then head back overseas to do their real spending and investing, because this is not a great environment in which to be super-rich.

There's a poignant vignette in David Fisher's book The Secret Life of Kim Dotcom, which shows how the super-rich must endure tribulations the rest of us can't even begin to understand.

Fisher describes an occasion in which friends are visiting Dotcom from overseas.

Used to the fleshpots of Hong Kong and Monaco, they venture into the Auckland night, hell-bent on a good time, but return defeated to Coatesville, because the city offers nothing on which they can spend the amount they had in mind. Neither vintage wines nor exotic foodstuffs nor extravagant "entertainments".

Entire industries are devoted to making consumables that exist so rich people can spend at the level they enjoy.

According to one list of such items, these include the likes of the Harry Winston Opus 12 watch for $400,000, or a Kohler Numi Toilet (with "smart bidet") for $9,800. Even Victorinox has come up with a high-end Swiss army knife for which it is comfortable charging $4,600.

Advertisement

One thing not on the list? Moving to New Zealand.

One of the few things really worth spending that sort of money on is improving other people's lives. There is an even tinier percentage of the 1 per cent who have worked out that since they couldn't possibly spend it all and can't take it with them they might as well give it away. They make philanthropy their raison d'etre. Unfortunately, even our beggary isn't good enough for the super-rich and their beneficence does not fall on our super-poor.

However, we do have one industry the super-rich will be able to kick along - increasing the inequality gap. This has been a booming activity for the past few years and the moment they arrive they will contribute to it without so much as lifting a heavily jewelled finger.