Thursday, August 05, 2021

An immediate perception of corruption

Over the course of the Covid crisis there has been unease with border restrictions, as people have found it difficult to get MIQ spots. And meanwhile, the government has been secretly letting billionaires in:

Billionaire Google co-founder Larry Page visited New Zealand amid Covid-19 border restrictions after his child fell ill in Fiji, Stuff can reveal.

Kiwi businessman and philanthropist Sir Stephen Tindall, who knows Page personally, confirmed he visited New Zealand because his young child required hospital treatment in Auckland.


Various details of the visit, including where Page stayed, whether he spent two weeks in a managed isolation facility and the grounds on which he was granted entry across New Zealand's closed border, remain a mystery.

Immigration and internal affairs ministers won't comment on the case and the Government refused to say whether Page was a citizen.

The fact that Page is a billionaire and isn't known to be an NZ citizen - he wasn't born here, and has no known association with this country - creates an immediate perception of corruption. Which makes the government's silence on this case simply unacceptable. As with Peter Thiel, who National sold citizenship to in 2011, there is a strong public interest in transparency about whether they have cut a similar deal (or are just letting page skip the queue and potentially endanger us all because he is rich). And an even stronger public interest in accountability if they have. And until the government comes clean, we're entitled to think they're dirty.