Google cofounder Larry Page reportedly travelled to New Zealand earlier in 2021, despite the country’s stringent border restrictions due to Covid-19.
According to Kiwi news site Stuff, the billionaire and one of his children were granted access to New Zealand in January, after suffering a medical emergency in nearby Fiji.
Insider previously revealed how the reclusive billionaire had spent the pandemic hiding out on Fijian islands cut off from most travellers during the pandemic.
Speaking in parliament after Stuff broke the story, New Zealand’s health minister Andrew Little confirmed his department received a request for a child to be medevaced from Fiji on January 11, 2021, alongside an accompanying adult.
Little added that anyone accepted for treatment in New Zealand must require “immediate care” which is unavailable locally. “I’m advised all of the normal steps occurred in this case,” he said.
New Zealand has enforced a tight border policy since the outbreak of Covid-19, and Page’s trip has prompted questions from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s critics over whether government officials gave him special treatment.
David Seymour, leader of the opposition ACT party, said: “The government has questions to answer about why billionaire Google cofounder Larry Page was allowed into New Zealand when desperate Kiwis and separated families can’t get through the border.”
He added: “I have had to tell them: ‘Sorry, but there is no way you can get through the border, government policy will not allow it.'”
Speaking to reporters, Arden said she was unaware of Page’s visit to the country. “We have roughly, in any given year, roughly 100 medevacs into New Zealand. The decision for a patient to be part of a medevac is made by clinicians.”
Quoting an immigration official, AFP reported that Page had “met relevant requirements” to be approved to enter the country. Stuff reported that Page had residency in New Zealand, though the immigration official stated he was not a permanent resident.
Page has spent months in Fiji during the pandemic, sources who have seen or interacted with him there previously told Insider. He has stayed mainly on the heart-shaped Tavarua island, they added, which lies west of the mainland. – Business Insider US