Why doomsday prepper billionaires are building bunkers in New Zealand

Why doomsday prepper billionaires are building huge underground survival bunkers in New Zealand

‘It’s not a nuclear target. It’s not a target for war’: Why doomsday prepper billionaires are building huge underground survival bunkers in New Zealand in case of the apocalypse

  • At least seven American billionaires have installed bunkers over past two years
  • The 150-tonne bunkers are made by a Texas company and cost up to $11.5million
  • Tech entrepreneurs and wealthy business people are preparing for apocalypse
  • Some have special ‘go bags’ and are ready to jump on a jet at a moment’s notice 
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At least seven Silicon Valley billionaires preparing for apocalyptic events have installed survival bunkers in New Zealand over the past two years.

Fearing nuclear war, pandemics or violent social unrest targeting the rich, the tech entrepreneurs have constructed elaborate contingency plans to flee the US.

The 150-tonne bunkers, which cost up to $11.5million and are buried four metres underground, are made by Texas bunker manufacturer Rising S Company.


Fearing nuclear war, pandemics or violent social unrest, the rich entrepreneurs have constructed elaborate contingency plans to flee the US (stock image)


The 150-tonne bunkers, which cost up to $11.5million and are buried four metres underground, are made by Texas bunker manufacturer Rising S Company (pictured is a Rising S bunker)

Rising S Co. General Manager Gary Lynch said New Zealand was the ideal destination for survivalists and doomsday preppers.

‘New Zealand is an enemy of no one. It’s not a nuclear target. It’s not a target for war. It’s a place where people seek refuge,’ he told Bloomberg. 

The two most recent 92sqm survival bunkers to be sent to New Zealand were transported from the US on 19 trailers each after being broken into sections.

One was installed in the rugged Northland region after landing in Auckland, while the other was taken to a mystery location on the west coast of the South Island.

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Former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said his country has become known as a safe and remote location for rich Americans to escape to in the event of a major disaster.

‘I’ve had a lot of people say to me that they would like to own a property in New Zealand if the world goes to hell in a handbasket,’ Mr Key said.

New Zealand’s doomsday reputation has attracted billionaires such as PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who bought two properties, one equipped with a panic room.

A geographically isolated stable democracy with a thriving start-up scene, the country has become known in tech circles as an Armageddon escape destination.


Fearing nuclear war, pandemics or violent social unrest, the rich entrepreneurs have constructed elaborate contingency plans to flee to New Zealand (pictured is Wanaka, where Peter Thiel has a property)

THE ‘ARISTOCRAT’ BUNKER 

Price: $11.5million (USD $8.5million) not including installation

Capacity: 50 plus people in private rooms with queen beds and shared rooms with bunks 

Security features: Bullet resistant doors, NBC air filtration systems with blast valves and over pressure valves, solar generated charging system with batteries for back-up power, infrared security system, half-inch steel plate walls, and an above-ground ‘safe house’ insulating the bunker’s entrance

Amenities: Green house for sustainable food sources, large storage rooms, full plumbing and septic systems, dual power allowing the bunker complex to run on or off ‘the grid’, swimming pool, gun range, gym, sauna, bowling lane, media room, personal bathrooms with showers

Source: Rising S Company

Setting up contingency plans to fly to New Zealand has become a hot topic at Silicon Valley dinner parties, with some such as Thiel going public with their plans.

Another unnamed venture capitalist told one gathering he has a ‘go bag’ filled with guns on a motorbike waiting in his garage.

In the event of an emergency he will speed through traffic to a private jet, and fly to Nevada where another plane is waiting in a hangar.


New Zealand’s doomsday reputation has attracted billionaires such as PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel (pictured)

That aircraft is ready and waiting to take him and four other tech moguls to New Zealand.

Mr Thiel and president of start-up incubator Y Combinator Sam Altman said in 2016 they had earmarked New Zealand as their escape destination.

Mr Altman, who also has a go bag containing a gun, gas mask, tent and antibiotics, has since said he was joking, but is genuinely concerned about biological warfare.

Other wealthy Americans who have bought properties in New Zealand include film director James Cameron and billionaire hedge fund manager Julian Robinson. 

A total of 17 Americans took advantage of the country’s Investor Plus Visa – which requires a $10million investment over 36 months – in the 2017 financial year. 

In the resort town of Queenstown alone, ten wealthy Americans have bought mansions over the past two years, according to local real estate agents.

But the Silicon Valley rush to snap up safe houses may have contributed to new legislation banning many non-resident foreigners from buying homes.

The Doomsday Clock, maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, moved to two minutes to midnight in 2018, the closest point to Armageddon since the 1950s.


Pictured is the floor plan of Rising S Company’s most expensive bomb shelter – The Aristocrat

 

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