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RICH LIST 2014: Graeme Hart reigns supreme

Another year. Another golden one for Graeme Hart, who continues to defy the message that debt is bad for you.  

Debt is not a dirty word to him and he has leveraged it to the max. But after years of turning the screws, light is appearing at the end of the tunnel. Now, he is unlocking some of the value from his giant packaging empire.

Little wonder the local investment community looks on in awe. His next moves, as asset prices reach all-time highs, will be fascinating. 

Other big movers this year include Rod Drury, who, with an 18% shareholding in Xero, saw his personal wealth climb from $400 million this time last year to $780 million as at June 30. It would have been more had it not been for a correction to Xero’s share price in recent months. In early March his stake was worth about $1 billion when Xero’s stock soared to $45.

Most involved in the property sector have also had a good year. For example, the Manson family sold three central Auckland office towers with a combined value of $200 million. Michael Friedlander and the Goodman family also have huge property portfolios and we continue to value them conservatively.

Most Rich Listers have gone up in value this year due to the rampant property market and another year of double-digit growth on the sharemarket.

Some members have been revalued as more information comes to hand, including Sir Owen Glenn, who was recently embroiled in court action over the $400 million proceeds of the sale of his logistics company.

Meanwhile, there are some other changes, with a handful of former members sliding off this year’s Rich List. These include Rakon’s Robinson family, Sir Peter Maire, Jan Cameron, Christopher Coon, Mark Richter and the Wallis family. 

Sir Peter Maire initially “joked” he was giving up on business after selling his commercial interests and donating the proceeds to charity. While he now says that’s not true, he has dipped under the $50 million threshold this year. 

The reality is, after netting $110 million in 2004 from the sale of Navman, Sir Peter’s subsequent investments haven’t been nearly as successful.

See the full NBR Rich List 2014 here (premium member subscriber content)

More by Duncan Bridgeman

Comments and questions

This man is an inspiration to me and my family!

My youngest son, (Kermadek), is only fifteen and has just landed his first job with a towing firm in Howick - one day I hope to see his name on this list as well !!

Watching the Commonwealth games today I look at how young some of the athletes are and the great future they have and in turn this country.
Many find the struggle difficult to focus on excelling while trying to make ends meet.
One thing NZ business is not good at is putting back into the next generation. If all the rich list people were to support an athlete just think how great NZ would be fronting up at the Olympic games in Rio. Australia is a great example of what investing in sporting can achieve.
Lets step up NZ and the rich list.