Google co-founder Larry Page visited New Zealand while COVID-19 border restrictions in place

Google co-founder Larry Page reportedly entered New Zealand despite COVID-19 border restrictions being in place.

According to a report from Stuff on Thursday, the billionaire - who is said to have recently been living in Fiji - came to New Zealand because his child required hospital treatment in Auckland. He has reportedly now left the country.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) general manager border and visa operations Nicola Hogg confirmed "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. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to comment further without a privacy waiver."

INZ didn't say when Page came to New zealand, on what grounds he was allowed in and whether he underwent twos in MIQ.

Restrictions imposed to keep COVID-19 out of the country mean entry is largely limited to mostly New Zealanders and their family. Some exemptions have been provided. While the border is open to Kiwis, many are struggling to return as the MIQ system is booked out for months. 

Immigration NZ may allow people to enter New Zealand for "humanitarian reasons in extremely limited cases". If someone wants to come into the country to receive medical treatment, they must receive approval from the Ministry of Health or a District Health Board.

A Ministry of Health spokesperson told Newshub the ministry was "unable to confirm details about individual patients to protect their privacy".

In the year ending June 30, 99 patients on medevac flights had been accepted for treatment in New Zealand. The majority of these people are Pasifika and come from the Pacific Islands. A small number are New Zealanders returning for treatment. 

Anyone accepted for treatment from one of these flights "requires immediate treatment and are therefore unable to go through managed isolation before treatment".

"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," the spokesperson said.

"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 says costs of the medevac "must be covered by either a Government to Government agreement, private insurance or by direct payment".

"Costs of any medical treatment in New Zealand must also be covered for individuals not eligible for publicly funded services."

ACT leader David Seymour says the report raises questions about why the billionaire was allowed into the country "when desperate Kiwis and separated families can't get through the border".

"I feel for Mr Page’s personal situation, just as I have felt for numerous people in similar situations who’ve approached me throughout the COVID period. 

"I have had to tell them, 'sorry, but there is no way you can get through the border, Government policy will not allow it.' Even writing to the relevant authorities on their behalf did not help. Where is the fairness for them?"

According to a report from Business Insider, Page has been spotted in Fiji over the past year, having apparently entered the nation through its 'Blue Lane' scheme that allows those on yachts to cruise the islands after completing 14 days of quarantine.