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Google co-founder Larry Page gets New Zealand residency as big investor, sparks debate

Google cofounder Larry Page gets New Zealand residency (Image: CNBC)

Google co-founder Larry Page, the 6th richest person on the planet, has become a resident of New Zealand under a category for wealthy investors sparking criticism from opposition political parties, according to reports in the local media.

Opposition politicians said the episode raised questions about why Page was approved so quickly just because of his wealth at a time when many skilled workers or separated family members who were desperate to enter New Zealand were being turned away.

"Larry Page submitted an application for residence under the Investor Plus Category on 3 November 2020," Immigration New Zealand said in a statement on Saturday.

"As he was offshore at the time his application was not able to be processed because of COVID-19 restrictions. Once Mr. Page entered New Zealand his application was able to be processed and it was approved on 4 February 2021."


The visa requires applicants to have USD 7 million to invest in New Zealand over a three-year period.

New Zealand closed its borders to visitors at the start of the pandemic. It  allows only a limited number of returnees, requiring them to go through a 14-day quarantine. It has been the most successful country in containing the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic.

When asked in parliament on what grounds Page was allowed entry into the country while the borders were closed, Health Minister Andrew Little explained that it was a permissible medical emergency application for Page's son to be evacuated from Fiji in early January and the entire protocol in relation to COVID-19 was complied with.

Page figures at the sixth spot on Forbes rich list, with a fortune of $117 billion. Forbes noted that Page stepped down as chief executive of Google’s parent company Alphabet in 2019 but remained a board member and controlling shareholder.