Exclusive: Google co-founder Larry Page has New Zealand residency

The Government has rejected a claim that billionaire Larry Page was given special treatment when he was let into New Zealand for his son's medical emergency.

Google co-founder Page, who is so rich he's worth more than half of New Zealand's entire economy, is not an NZ citizen.

But Newshub can reveal he does have residency. While Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti confirmed the world's richest man is not a New Zealand citizen "and he's made no application to be a citizen", Newshub understands Page does hold New Zealand residency - that's different to permanent residency. 

With the border closed, only permanent residents and citizens are allowed in - everyone else is locked out. Page was an exception - let in for a medical emergency.  

Page, worth NZ$163 billion, had been riding out the COVID-19 pandemic as he and his family hunkered down in Fiji - until he was evacuated to Auckland.

"There was an issue with his son's health," Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said on Thursday afternoon.

Under questioning from ACT's Brooke van Velden in Parliament, Health Minister Andrew Little confirmed the Ministry of Health received a request on January 11 - prior to Fiji's current COVID-19 outbreak - to medevac a child from Fiji.

The case wasn't COVID-related, clinicians assessed whether the child could be treated locally, then the medical officer of health gave approval after considering COVID-19 infection control procedures.

"This was a medical emergency," Little said. 

"It met all the standard conditions of a medical emergency requiring medical evacuation from the islands.

"The day after the application was received, a New Zealand Air Ambulance - staffed by a New Zealand ICU nurse escort - medevaced the child and adult family member from Fiji," Little said.

They were taken to Starship Hospital and kept in isolation while Page's son was treated and have since left New Zealand.

"I think the Government needs to Google 'fairness.' There'll be many New Zealanders asking whether Larry Page was given special criteria," van Velden said.

Brooke van Velden.
Brooke van Velden. Photo credit: Parliament TV

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the decision was made by clinicians.

"Politicians don't make those decisions, nor should they."

New Zealand has accepted 99 Medevac flights in the past year.