Tipped for Rich List


Two property developers with major Queenstown interests are tipped for the chop from tomorrow’s new Rich List.

Valued at $100 million last year, Auckland-based Nigel McKenna will likely be culled from National Business Review’s annual wealth league table, after the receivership of his ambitious Kawarau Falls Station development near Kelvin Heights.

Stage one of the billion-dollar hotel/resort project was put in receivership two months ago by the Bank of Scotland, though construction’s been allowed to continue meantime.

Also off the list will be Queenstowner John Martin, who last year just made the $50m cut after missing out in 2007.

He’s among a group of local developers who’ve completed a Church Street commercial building which remains largely untenanted.

Queenstown’s six other 2008 Rich Listers will stay in play, pundits say.

Eamon Cleary, Investor, 49 
The part-time local landlord still comfortably leads the Wakatipu wealth pack, although apparently he’s slipped marginally from $2.1 billion to $2b. 
The Malta-based, horse-loving Irish Kiwi remains our largest landlord, holding major commercial interests in Queenstown and Arrowtown as well as Coronet Peak Station. He recently redeveloped a CBD mall between Shotover and Beach Streets.

George Kerr, Developer, 46
The original Jack’s Point co-developer is thought to have increased his fortune from $100m to $135m. Sydney-based Kerr is the little-known partner of local developer John Darby in the company behind the $2b Jack’s Point township.
The duo have sold their company to Australian-listed Babcock and Brown Residential Partners.

Michael Hill, Jeweller, 70
Although the Arrowtown-based mega-jeweller is understood to have slipped from $235m to $170m, he’s still had a successful 12 months.
Twice he’s flown to Europe for award ceremonies, collecting three trophies for his superyacht and making the World Entrepreneur Of The Year finals.
Hill staged his second New Zealand Open golf tournament on his private course, where he’s also got consent for bunker housing, and again hosted an international violin competition. He’s also published a recession-survival guide.

Eion Edgar, Sharebroker, 64
Edgar, soon to become a Sir in recognition of his Order of Merit, this year signed off as chairman of the NZ Olympic Committee with a $1m donation. He’s tipped to have an estimated net worth of $95m.
He’s stepped down to spend more time on the Queenstown-based Winter Games, a sports event he conceived, which launches on August 20.

Barry Thomas, Tourism director, 64
The Skyline Enterprises chairman should remain unchanged at $60m.
He retains a substantial holding in the Queenstown-based tourism, casino and property group, which lifted its pre-tax profit to $24.2m this past financial year despite difficult trading conditions.
The company’s spent $4m upgrading Queenstown’s gondola and upper terminal complex and is rebuilding a CBD property destroyed by fire for the same amount.

John Davies,Tourism director, 67
The tourism and transport heavyweight is again tipped to squeak in at the $50m threshold.
He’s best known for his substantial skifield interests, including Queenstown’s Coronet Peak and The Remarkables.
Other interests include Northern Southland Transport, the guided Milford and Routeburn Walks and Mount Cook’s Hermitage hotel.