The rich get richer and more powerful

The political power and wealth of New Zealand’s business elite is on display in two important media publications this week – the NBR’s 2013 Rich List and the New Zealand Herald’s ‘Mood of the Boardroom’ survey of CEOs.

Both publications illustrate the immense power and wealth that is concentrated amongst a miniscule group of businesspeople. According to the NBR, ‘The rich continue to get richer’. Editor Nevil Gibson says ‘This year’s Rich List is bigger and richer than ever before, with the total minimum net worth of members now at $47.8 billion, an increase of $3.5 billion on last year’s list. Add the small group of New Zealand-based international billionaires and the figure climbs to $60.4 billion, an all-time record’ – see: How to be a millionaire – NBR Rich List.

This enrichment is because, Gibson says, ‘The past year has been a good one financially’, with record profitability: ‘The surge in wealth is mainly due to the substantial gains of most investment classes; the New Zealand equity market returned 25.9% last year’.

Most of the 2013 NBR Rich List information is behind the NBR paywall online, but you can still see the summary Rich List at a Glance (Wealth order), as well as the individual entries for various rich-listers such as Graeme Hart, Richard Chandler, the Todd family, Owen Glenn, and Alan Gibbs. And of course there’s some very political people on the list too – for example, both the National Party’s leader and president – see: John Key and Peter Goodfellow’s family. A good summary of the report can also be read in Steve Deane’s Hart returns to top of wealthier NBR rich list.

Further evidence of growing wealth and profitability in New Zealand was also seen earlier this week via Hamish McNicol’s Luxury car sales leave rest behind and Christopher Adams’ Banks’ profit jumps 12.9pc, nears $1b. Continue reading


Dr Bryce Edwards is a politics lecturer at University of Otago.


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News category: Analysis and Comment.

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