Reports say that Google co-founder Larry Page has been granted New Zealand residency and spent some time in the country amidst the pandemic.
According to CNBC, Page was able to apply for residency in New Zealand through the “Investor Plus” residency visa. He applied for it in November 2020 but the paperwork was not forwarded because he was not present in the county. “Investor Plus” residency visa allows applicants with investments worth NZ$10 million ($7 million) in the country for a period of three years.
CNBC reports that Page was able to land in Auckland on January 12th, the day after his family filed for a medical evacuation for his son from Fiji. Immigration New Zealand confirmed that the application was processed after he reached the country and was given the permit on February 4th, 2021. After being asked how Page was able to enter the country when it had closed its borders to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, New Zealand health minister Andrew Little told that all the normal steps for medical evacuation were taken. He further stated that the country gets only less than 100 medevac cases a year.
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Arden said that she was not informed of Page’s visit as it was a medevac case.
New Zealand has become a place of attraction to high-net-worth individuals in recent years because of its geographical location and temperate climate. It is also self-dependent in terms of food and energy and has a stable political system.
Page is not the first billionaire to get a residency permit in New Zealand in recent years. In fact, Page’s episode has brought an earlier debate to the surface. The debate is about whether money can buy access to the South Pacific country. PayPal co-founder was granted New Zealand citizenship in 2017 even though he spent only 12 days in the country.
The political opposition in the country has raised questions on this episode as he got approval quickly than skilled workers and separated family members. They were turned down because of the COVID-19 restrictions in the country. ACT deputy leader Brooke van Velden stated that “The government is sending a message that money is more important than doctors, fruit pickers and families who are separated from their children.”