Record 15 new names join New Zealand's rich list worth more than $55 billion

Former Team New Zealand skipper Sir Russell Coutts is one of the big movers onto this year's list of richest New Zealanders, thanks to a sizeable bonus he netted for helping Oracle nab the Amerca's Cup in 2013.

The National Business Review rich list, released today, adds a record 15 new names (13 in 2014, and 12 in 2013) to the list and brings a combined wealth of the newcomers to a little more than $1.2 billion.

The total wealth of the rich list is more than $55 billion, and when adding New Zealand-based international billionaires, the figure jumps to $68.9 billion.

Russell Coutts

America's Cup champion Sir Russell Coutts is one of the big newcomers to the list, and New Zealand's highest paid sportsman pockets an annual salary of $13 million form Oracle Team USA.

Sir Russell, also netted a bonus for helping Oracle win the America's Cup in 2013, but has made significant wealth through the property market with multi-million dollar investments in Whangaparaoa and Queenstown.

The team Oracle CEO, worth $50 million and who comes in a equal 180 on the list, famously skippered Team New Zealand to America's Cup victory in 1995 and retained it five years later, he then controversially left for Swiss-based Alinghi, winning the cup again in 2003.

Graeme Hart
Graeme Hart Source: 1 NEWS

Other big movers on the list include IT innovator Malcolm Dick, who returned to the list at number 80, after selling Callplus, the company he founded in 1996 and New Zealand's third largest telco and broadband provider, to Australia's M2 for $250 million.

Mr Dick's former partner Annette Presley, a co-founder who had a 35.5 per cent stake in Callplus, also returned to the list.

New Zealand's richest man businessman Graeme Hart added $2 billion to his net worth, while software entrepreneur Guy Haddleton, number 43, went from $90 million last year to $300 million this year.

Sir Peter Jackson

Regular big players on the list such as film giant Sir Peter Jackson came in at number 14 (worth $630 million), while Xero CEO Rod Dury was at number 18, and worth $550 million.

Supermodel Heidi Klum with Warriors owner Eric Watson at the NRL Season Launch

Hanover Finance shareholder and NRL club Warriors co-owner Eric Watson was number 21 on the list, and doesn't appear to be contributing to the $18 million settlement Hanover reached with the Financial Markets Authority. He is also involved in a bitter dispute with business parter Sir Own Glenn, but his wealth continues to grow, from $400 million last year to $500 million this year.

Fellow Warriors co-owner Sir Owen Glen was at 23, worth $450 million, while jewellery magnate Sir Michael Hill, number 47, saw wealth drop from $300 million in 2014 to $290 million this year.

New Zealand Business Hall of Famer and founder of Hawke's Bay's Sileni Estates Winery Sir Graeme Avery was worth $90 million and came in at 131 on the list.

The head of the Todd family, Sir John Todd, wsa number three on the list and worth $3.16 billion. Sir John died last night at his Wellington home last night following a time of ill health. He was 88-years-old.

Prime Minister John Key was reported to have a net worth of $55 million and was at equal 173 on the list, but told NBR, "if I was really focused on it, I wouldn't be in politics".

The richest New Zealand-based international was industrial magnate Alexander Abramov with a net worth of $5.96 billion.

TOP 10

1. Graeme Hart $9 billion

2. Richard Chandler $4 billion

3. Todd family $3.16 billion

4. Erceg family $1.6 billion

5. Michael Friedlander $1.4 billion

6. Christopher Chandler $1.3 billion

7. Goodman family $1.2 billion

8 Stephen Jennings $980 million

9. Sir Douglas Myers $930 million

10. Sir Michael Fay $870 million

Mega rich set sail for NZ - superyacht visits hit highest number since 2000 America's Cup

Making it easier for yachts to visit New Zealand has paid off, the government says.

Customs Minister Nicky Wagner says 57 superyachts visited between April last year and March this year, compared with 37 during the previous season.

"This is the highest number of superyacht visits since we hosted the America's Cup in 2000," Ms Wagner said today.

"Each visit contributes significantly to our economy through tourism, hospitality, berthage and marine services."

Overall, customs has cleared 620 arriving yachts since last spring.

Changes made to the customs regime included making it easier for owners to charter their yacht or carry out maintenance work.

Russian billionaire Viktor Rashnikov’s Ocean Victory will spend two months in the City of Sails. Source: 1 NEWS



'Colin Craig in for a very rough ride' - blogger Cameron Slater

Controversial blogger Cameron Slater says former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig is in for a "rough ride", after the politician announced he will sue the right wing writer and the rest of the "Dirty Politics brigade".

"I’m just talking things through with the team right now, but if this does turn out to be more than the typical Colin Craig bluster, I suspect that he’s going to be in for a very rough ride," Mr Slater wrote on his blog, Whale Oil.

Colin Craig is suing Jordan Williams, John Stringer and blogger Cameron Slater. Source: 1 NEWS

"I feel sorry for the people that still care for him, because the truth is quite the defence, and now he’s forcing me to pull his life apart bit by bit inside a court room."

Mr Craig announced today that he will sue Jordan Williams of the Taxpayers Union, former chair of the Conservative Party John Stringer and Mr Slater for defamation, seeking damages of $300,000, $600,000 and $650,000 respectively.

The embattled politician has also published a booklet detailing the "Dirty Politics agenda" he claims he's been subjected to, and how the group have allegedly campaigned against him with "defamatory lies".

In my experience, people who go to the media about defamation instead of serving papers are trying to create a 'chilling effect'. - Cameron Slater

Mr Slater also referenced a well-known defamation case between political columnist Joe Atkinson and former New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange, which stemmed from a 1995 article in North and South magazine.

He said it will be "enlightening" to see how Mr Craig "intends to get around Lange v Atkinson once it is established that apart from honest opinion we have only dealt in verifiable fact".

"I never thought I’d ever be able to say this, but it appears [former Green Party co-leader] Russel Norman and I have now got something in common – both having faced Colin Craig’s empty threats about defamation action."

Mr Craig filed for defamation against Mr Norman last year, following comments he made about Mr Craig at the Big Gay Out in Auckland. The defamation case was later dropped by Mr Craig.

A cartoon from Colin Craig pamphlet 'Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas: Colin Craig vs The Dirty Politics Brigade'. Source: Supplied

Mr Slater told his readers that he'll let them know "if [Craig will] even serve papers", but until then said it was "not actually real anyway".

"In my experience, people who go to the media about defamation instead of serving papers on those they intend to sue, are trying to create a 'chilling effect'.

"Come on Mr Craig. I’m even happy to come to your castle to pick the documents up. Let me know when they’re at reception."

Mr Craig stepped down as leader of Conservative Party in June this year, following allegations he sexually harassed his former press secretary, Rachel MacGregor, who resigned two days before the September 2014 election.

He has repeatedly dismissed allegations of sexual misconduct, but has admitted that "in hindsight, on some occasions our conduct was inappropriate".