WELLINGTON New Zealand will launch a new visa to attract technology entrepreneurs as it tries to offset its struggling dairy industry, but it may struggle to beat Australia in the race to become the Silicon Valley of the South Pacific.
Up to 400 Global Impact Visas would be offered over a four-year pilot beginning later this year, the New Zealand government said on Friday. This follows Australia’s announcement in December of its “entrepreneur visa” as part of a raft of measures to boost innovation.
A downturn in commodity prices over the past two years has brought an end to Australia’s mining boom, while low global dairy prices have slashed the incomes of farmers in New Zealand, the world’s largest dairy exporter.
Both countries have since been forced to diversify their economies, leading to an increasing focus on the high-value technology sector.
New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said the aim of the global impact visas was to “help expand the pool of smart capital by attracting individual investors and entrepreneurs to live here in New Zealand”.
But some in the industry felt that a visa program alone would not be enough to mark New Zealand on