Google co-founder spent time in NZ due to sick child

Source: 1News

Google co-founder Larry Page spent time in New Zealand during the country's Covid-19 border closure because his child was sick. 

Google founder Larry Page.

Stuff reported The Warehouse founder Sir Stephen Tindall confirmed the billionaire's visit and said Page had visited New Zealand because his young child required hospital treatment in Auckland.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said while Page's son was medevaced from Fiji, she was not aware of him being in the country.

Kris Faafoi told reporters today he was aware of the situation but did not inform the Prime Minister under the "no surprises policy".

"We were told about it, they were for nothing more than reasons that there was an issue with his son's health," he said. 

In July this year, Business Insider reported Page was residing in Fiji.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) told 1 NEWS that Page met relevant requirements to be approved entry to New Zealand.

"Mr Page is not a permanent resident. Citizenship is a matter for the Department of Internal Affairs," INZ's Nicola Hogg said.

"Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to comment further without a privacy waiver."

Later tonight, it emerged in a Stuff report that Page is in fact a resident. 

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) confirmed to Stuff the world’s sixth richest man has Kiwi residency despite not living here permanently.

Only permanent residents and citizens are allowed into New Zealand under Covid-19 border restrictions, but officials granted Page and his son an exception.

It's unclear if Page contributed to costs involved, completed an MIQ stay or what the exact grounds were for being granted entry into the country. 

A Ministry of Health spokesperson told 1 NEWS they could not confirm details about individual patients, but said in the year ending June 2021 there was 99 patients on medevac flights were accepted for treatment in New Zealand. 

"In these instances, a clinical assessment is carried out in New Zealand prior to accepting the individual for treatment. The clinical assessment includes a check that the treatment required is not available locally. 

"Patients, and a family member accompanying a child, are kept in isolation in hospital on arrival.  On discharge, the patient would compete the balance of the required 14 days isolation in managed isolation or would leave the country. 

"At times permission is granted to a support person, as the person may require assistance once discharged from hospital, this support person is transferred on arrival to managed isolation for 14 days."

The spokesperson said the majority of medevac patients that come to New Zealand are Pacific Peoples and come from the Pacific Islands. 

"A small proportion of the cases are New Zealanders returning for treatment. Costs of the medevac must be covered by either a Government to Government agreement, private insurance or by direct payment."

Ardern today said any decision for a patient to be part of medevac would be made by clinician.

"Politicians do not make those decisions. Politicians shouldn't make those calls. I don’t think it's necessarily important for me to know important private medical details about a family member or family situation."

Page founded Google in 1998 with Sergey Brin. His net worth is estimated to be $166 billion (NZD).