Waikato-born brothers near top of NZ rich list

MATT NIPPERT AND LAURA WALTERS
Last updated 05:00 26/07/2013

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Richard Chandler might have lost more than a quarter of his wealth over the past 12 months, but the knock hasn't kept the Matangi-born businessman from ranking as the second-richest New Zealander with $3.7 billion.

The National Business Review's 2013 Rich List, published yesterday, saw 12 new entrants on the exclusive list, and no-one lost enough to fall below the $50 million cut-off. The Waikato's wealthiest have a combined value of $6b.

Mr Chandler and his brother, Christopher, have come from a rural Waikato beginning to sit at second and fifth, respectively, on the list. This marks the ninth straight appearance for the brothers in the top 10, but their personal wealth has taken a hit in the past year.

Richard Chandler made his fortune in investment and saw his worth drop from $5b to $3.7b. Christopher Chandler accumulated his wealth through private portfolio investment firm Legatum Capital and saw his fortune decrease from $1.5b to $1.3b.

The only name to drop from the list was property developer Eamon Cleary, who was valued at $1.2b last year. He died last September at his horse stud in Kentucky after battling cancer for about six months.

Overall, the increase in wealth came through gains in technology, retail, property, and oil.

The total net worth of the 164 individuals and families on the list grew $3.5b last year to stand at $47.8b.

The spate of newcomers was lead by Manawatu-born Victoria Ransom, who came in at number 30, with an estimated fortune of $300m. The San Francisco-based software developer made her fortune selling her technology company Wildfire Interactive to Google last year for a reported $313.5m, with an additional $125m staff retention bonus.

Equal in last place, coming in at the cut-off threshold of $50m, were new additions the Anselmi family, Derek Jones, Malcom Macdonald, and the Chow brothers.

Prime Minister John Key also hung on in last place with a value of $50m, the same as last year. His estimated worth fell from $55m in 2011 to $50m in 2012.

Auckland business tycoon Graeme Hart was back on top after being usurped by Russian steel magnate Alexander Abramov last year. The packaging tycoon's estimated wealth is $6.4b, up $400m from 2012.

Philanthropist Sir Owen Glenn - in the spotlight recently over his family violence inquiry - remained in eighth place with a fortune of $900m.

Film director Peter Jackson has increased his wealth by 17 per cent since last year to $585m. Jackson bought a new $80m jet this year.

If the group of New Zealand-based international billionaires was taken into account, the total wealth of members would total a record $60.4b.

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The Waikato's adopted aristocrat, Dowager Duchess Henrietta Bedford ($1.1b) adds some blue blood to the list, with extensive property interests throughout the country.

Mr Abramov topped this with an estimated $5.9b fortune, down nearly 16 per cent from $7b last year. The Russian keeps a low profile, but is building a $40m luxury waterfront home in the Bay of Islands.

Additional reporting by Kashka Tunstall

- Waikato Times

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