WELLINGTON: Larry Page, Google’s co-founder
and one of the world’s richest men, has been granted New Zealand residency
under a category for wealthy investors.
are required to invest at least NZ$10m ($7m, £5m) in New Zealand over three
entered New Zealand in January, when its borders were still closed because of
Covid-19. But the government said he was allowed in because of a medical
emergency application involving his son.
48, had applied for residence in November. However, his application could not
be processed because he was offshore at the time.
January, the US tech billionaire was allowed into New Zealand so his son could
be evacuated from Fiji because of a medical emergency, the government confirmed on Thursday. His
application was approved in February.
parliament this week, Health Minister Andrew Little defended the decision to
grant him entry.
entry] met all the standard conditions of a medical emergency requiring a
medical evacuation from the islands, and every requirement and regulation that
was in place… was complied with,” Mr Little said, according to a
transcript on the parliament’s website.
critics of the decision highlighted its apparent unfairness.
have got these GPs or nurses who are stuck in an interminable waiting room to
get their residence, whereas Larry [Page] comes in and boom, straight away can
become a resident,” immigration adviser Katy
Armstrong told Radio New Zealand.
Page is listed as one of the richest people in the world with a reported wealth of more
than $116 bn. He stepped down as chief executive of
Google’s parent company Alphabet in 2019, but remains a board member
and controlling shareholder.
He is not
the first Silicon Valley tech billionaire to have taken a particular interest
in New Zealand.
Thiel, a co-founder of Paypal and early investor in Facebook, once described the
South Pacific island nation as “the future” and became a citizen back
in 2011. He has since invested heavily there.
more than 6,000 miles (10,000km) from the US mainland, New Zealand was recently
identified as a country more resilient than most to the threat of climate
study released last month, researchers at the UK-based Global Sustainability
Institute described New Zealand as “best
placed to survive the collapse of global civilisation”.
temperate, mountainous country is well-placed to deal with threats such as
rising sea levels.