Rich List 2008: A bad economy, but the rich still get richer

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Despite a global financial downturn, the overall wealth on the 2008 NBR Rich List has increased – up by $5.8 billion from last year. 

The overall wealth of Rich Listers in 2008 was $44.426 billion, compared with $38.62 billion in 2007.

>  Click here for Top 10

> Click here for Wealth by Industry

“Despite the global credit crunch and the turmoil it has caused in the property and finance sectors and wider capital markets, overall the rich have still got richer.  The pertinent question is whether we are at the beginning, the middle or the end of it all. 

Depending on the answer, then the impact on our Rich Listers over the next year or years may be interesting indeed,” says Andrea Parker, Editor of NBR Magazine.
This year’s NBR Rich List has a record eight billionaires (individuals or families).

Graeme Hart tops the list again with a value of $6 billion (a significant increase on his value of $2.75 billion in last year’s Rich List). It is the first time a woman in her own right – Lynette Erceg – has featured as a billionaire on the list, with a value of $1.4 billion.  Another new entrant to the list is National Party leader John Key at $50 million.

In addition to Erceg and Key, there are seven other new (or reinstated) entrants on the Rich List – agribusiness investor Alan Pye ($140m), Sydney- based investor George Kerr ($100m); Viking Capital director and former 42 Below chairman Grant Baker ($60m); 1980s All Black-turned-investor Greg Burgess ($60 million), Navman co-founder Lionel Rogers ($60m), Queenstown-based investor John Davies ($50m) and Queenstown property developer John Martin ($50m).

The threshold for inclusion in the 2008 NBR Rich List remains at $50 million.  This year there are 178 entries* (up from 176 in 2007) with 134 men, 8 women and 42 families. (* Note that some entries may include more than one person.)

Graeme Hart still holds the number one spot on the Rich List, but his wealth has more than doubled to $6 billion through a series of ever-larger deals, including the completion of his purchase earlier this year of Alcoa’s consumer goods packaging companies for US$2.7 billion.

Jan Cameron has been replaced as New Zealand’s richest woman. New entrant Lynette Erceg (whose wealth was previously attributed to the Erceg family) has a value of $1.4 billion. Erceg played a key role in overseeing the sale of her late husband Michael’s Independent Liquor company, and she has started investing the proceeds in wine and property. She is the only new entrant to the exclusive billionaire rankings this year, in 7= place with Russia-based investment banker Stephen Jennings.

Another high profile entry to the 2008 Rich List is National Party leader John Key, with a value of $50 million. Key’s well-known rags to riches story sees him owning properties in Auckland, Wellington and Omaha, as well as an apartment in London and a newly-acquired US$3.25 million holiday home in Hawaii.

The NBR Rich List appears in NBR Magazine, a premium glossy publication that will accompany the NBR newspaper to subscribers and bookstores nationwide on Friday July 25.

For media enquiries please phone:
Nevil Gibson
National Business Review
DDI:   (09) 912 2718
MOB: (021) 445 365

Click here to purchase a same-as-print digital edition of NBR Magazine featuring the Rich List.

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