Wealthy Americans fearing doomsday flee to luxury underground bunkers in New Zealand

Some wealthy Americans fearing a pandemic doomsday scenario are hightailing it to where they think it’s safe – their luxury underground bunkers in New Zealand.

By World Israel News Staff

Where do you go if the coronavirus keeps spreading and you are desperate to find a safe haven from a doomsday scenario?

Commercial airlines have all but shut down and rural Americans are shunning those fleeing outbreaks in the cities. But if you have deep enough pockets you can overcome the problem by hopping on your private jet and heading to your prepared survival bunker in New Zealand, Bloomberg News reported.

For those not so wealthy, similar escape options are available in America provided by companies like Vivos and Rising S who provide underground shelters and bunkers to meet the needs of survivalists, especially catering to the wealthy.

Although Rising S does good business building tornado storm shelters and some underground bunkers for those fearing nuclear war, over the years the company also built several private bunkers in New Zealand at an average cost of $3 million. Top models can run up to $8 million and include necessities like game rooms, gyms and theaters, as well as medical facilities.

One bunker owner, an unnamed Silicon Valley executive who lives in New York where the virus was running rampant, recently called Rising S owner Gary Lynch to confirm he had the correct combination for the entrance to his custom-made safe house.

“He went out to New Zealand to escape everything that’s happening,” Lynch told Bloomberg. “And as far as I know, he’s still there.”

Isolated in the south Pacific and thousands of miles from coronavirus hot spots, New Zealand has a reputation for being a quiet and safe refuge from the rest of the world.

A modern, developed country, New Zealand has also successfully confronted COVID-19 with an early lockdown. As of April 22 the country of almost 5 million had only 1,451 confirmed cases of whom 1,036 have already recovered. Only 14 people to date have died there from the virus while the death toll in America has rocketed past 45,000.

Another company, Vivos, sells space in underground shelters it built at locations in America and abroad, including a 300-person bunker in New Zealand. Vivos founder Robert Vicino said two people called him recently wanting to build shelters there. Closer to home, two dozen families recently moved into a Vivos shelter at a former military base in South Dakota that can hold 5,000 people.

With outbreaks spreading across the U.S. several Americans have already fled to New Zealand, including Silicon Valley entrepreneur Mihai Dinulescu, who left America on March 12. Dinulescu dropped his cryptocurrency startup, packed his bags and caught one of the last flights to Auckland.

Dinulescu said many venture capital people didn’t get out before New Zealand closed its borders, although local media reported a slight increase in private plane arrivals there.

Those who didn’t get to the island nation before the lockout may be out of luck. Work visas for foreign nationals are not easy to get, although New Zealand law does provide for a three-year “investor visa” if someone has $6 million to invest.

Another barrier to late comers is the 2018 law barring foreigners from buying real estate, with one luxury agent saying in the past weeks he received several calls from rich Americans looking to buy in New Zealand.

“They have all said it looks like the safest place to be is New Zealand right now,” real estate agent Graham Wall said. “That’s been a theory since before Covid-19.”

Before the law, several wealthy Americans bought mansions, including hedge-fund pioneer Julian Robertson, Hollywood film director James Cameron and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.

Many, like Dinulescu, are on Waiheke Island located some 30 kilometers east of Auckland, where many high-priced mansions and estates are found. Dinulescu said he hadn’t bumped into any high rollers yet as they all appeared to be in self-isolation.