Kiwi rich listers' wealth tops $50b

MICHAEL FOREMAN
Last updated 16:58 31/07/2014

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Packaging and investment billionaire Graeme Hart has once again topped this year's National Business Review Rich List.

While Hart's estimated worth grew to $7 billion, up from $6.4b last year, the combined wealth of all New Zealand rich listers has passed $50 billion for the first time.

The combined fortune of New Zealand's wealthiest individuals or families is now estimated at $51.2bn, up from $47.9bn last year.

This year 13 newcomers joined the list, including Orion Health founder Ian McCrae (worth $350m), Nelson-based farm owner Tom Sturgess (worth $280m) and retailers the Gillespie family (worth $200m).

BurgerFuel founder Josef Roberts (worth $100m) and Albany Pak'nSave owner-operator Paul Blackwell (worth $50m) also made their Rich List debut. Blackwell also owns the New Zealand Breakers basketball team.

One of the biggest climbers on this year's list was Xero founder Rod Drury, whose personal wealth soared to $780m from $400m last year on the back of Xero's volatile share price. If Xero's share price had remained at its early-March peak of $45, Drury's fortune would have been worth about $1b.

Meanwhile, the estimated worth of former logistics entrepreneur Sir Owen Glenn has halved to $450m from $900m, after he became embroiled in a legal battle with a former business partner.

Prime Minister John Key looks set to remain on the list as his personal worth rose to $55m, up from the minimum $50m last year.

Key's major assets which, like all MPs', are listed in the Register of Pecuniary Interests include a $10m mansion in Parnell and a holiday home in Hawaii worth more than $6m. His investments are held in a blind trust.

Among those who slipped off the list this year were Navman founder Sir Peter Maire and the Robinson family, associated with the Rakon electronics company.

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