Google co-founder Larry Page travelled to New Zealand to get hospital treatment for his young child despite the country's borders being closed.
The billionaire does not have New Zealand citizenship, but according to multiple reports is spending the Covid-19 pandemic on an island in Fiji.
The Warehouse founder Sir Stephen Tindall, who has met Page on a number of occasions, confirmed to Stuff that he came to New Zealand "quite a while ago" because his young child needed hospital treatment in Auckland.
It is understood Page has since left the country after his child received treatment from Starship hospital, according to Stuff.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she wasn't aware that Page had been allowed into New Zealand for medical reasons.
"Nor would I be," she told reporters this morning.
"We have in any given year roughly 100 medevacs into New Zealand. The decision for a patient to be part of a medevac is made by clinicians.
"I'm not advised of every single individual ... at any given time because politicians do not make those decisions, nor should they."
Asked if she was comfortable with the decision, Ardern said: "I absolutely trust our clinicians to make decisions between those in the host country and receiving country around what is best for a patient. It happens for all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons."
She said she wasn't sure if she should have been briefed if the sixth-richest man in the world was seeking to come to New Zealand.
"I don't think it's necessarily important for me to know the private medical details of someone, a family member, or their family situation."
During Question Time today, Health Minister Andrew Little said the Page application was made via a DHB to the Ministry of Health on January 11, 2021.
He outlined the requirements that had to be met, including that the required treatment couldn't be done locally. The application must be approved by the medical officer of health, who has to consider protecting the community against Covid-19.
The sick child and an accompanying adult were brought to New Zealand from Fiji the day after the application was received in an air ambulance with a New Zealand ICU nurse on board, and they were then placed into an isolation environment in a hospital.
If they had been discharged from hospital within 14 days, they would have had to go into MIQ for the remainder of the 14-day period.
Little would not say whether this happened.
"All Covid-19 orders in this respect were complied with."
Costs usually had to be covered for people who are not normally covered by the health system, but Little wouldn't say whether Page had paid the costs, citing patient privacy.
"People coming here for medical reasons to have the benefit of medical services are entitled to medical privacy, and I intend to observe that."
Asked if Page's application being accepted was unfair when Kiwis overseas have had applications to return home on humanitarian or medical grounds denied, Little said it was a medical emergency.
"It met all the standard conditions."
He said there had been 99 medivac applications approved in the year to June, mostly from the Pacific.
In a statement to Stuff, Immigration NZ border and visa operations general manager Nicola Hogg confirmed Page met relevant requirements to be approved entry to New Zealand.
Details on the nature of those requirements were not provided.
Page, 48, founded Google with Sergey Brin in 1998 and is the sixth-richest person in the world and worth $171 billion (US$121b), according to Bloomberg. The company owns Google, Gmail and YouTube.
Google's parent company Alphabet has reported large growth during the Covid-19 pandemic, which it put down to an increase in online advertising due to more customers shopping online.