Second part of Herald series shows Rangitikei MP tops the list with assets of $68.4m, and John Key comes in at number four.

New Zealand's wealthiest property-owning politician controls a $68.4 million land bank nearly as big as the nearby town of Feilding.

Ian McKelvie, the MP for Rangitikei, owns 32.5sq km - or 3250ha - most of which is a family farm in the Manawatu, according to property records analysed by the Herald.

The properties are spread across 53 legal titles including a family home and separate section in Whareroa, a village on the southwestern shores of Lake Taupo, commercial buildings in Palmerston North, an apartment in Wellington and the extensive family farm land owned by "various entities", according to Mr McKelvie's list of pecuniary interests.

The total of $68.4 million, based on 2013 capital valuations, heads the top 10 list of property-owning MPs.

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Mr McKelvie was not surprised at the figures. "I wish I could go down to the bank to withdraw that, but I can't," he laughed. "We live here because we love the land. We don't live to sell it."

Mr McKelvie said the land had been in his family's hands since the 1850s and his sons were now running the farm.

Second on the list is Christchurch Central MP Nicky Wagner, who owns - or is linked to companies which own - $25.3 million worth of property, according to 2007 valuations.

Most of the portfolio is substantial commercial buildings in Christchurch owned by a company of which she is a joint shareholder and director with her husband. This was separate from two other commercial properties, the family residence, a holiday home in Picton and an apartment in Wellington she owned personally with her husband.

Mrs Wagner disputed the $25.3 million figure, saying: "It couldn't possibly be that high. I'm sure that's nowhere near that."

This was because she did not consider herself to have a pecuniary interest in the eight properties owned by David Wagner Holdings Ltd, of which she is a 50/50 director and shareholder with her husband.

"That's not part of my pecuniary interest. Vaguely, I would be a beneficiary. But it's not direct," said Mrs Wagner. "The ones in my pecuniary interest register are the ones I have direct responsibility for."

The guidebook from the Registrar of Pecuniary Interests advises MPs to "include all your property interests that you are aware of, including property held in a trust of which you are a beneficiary", but does not specifically address real estate owned by companies linked to politicians.

Chris Tremain, the retiring MP for Napier, owns 20 properties including his family home and bach, large sections of land, residential and apartment rentals, as well as commercial investment properties.

The total rateable value of $14.6 million for his holdings puts him just ahead of Prime Minister John Key, whose Parnell mansion, Omaha beach house and electorate office in Huapai are worth $13.3 million.

Speaker of the House David Carter owns $11.2 million of property including farms in Banks Peninsula and elsewhere in Canterbury, a commercial building in Christchurch, a home in the Marlborough Sounds and an apartment in Wellington. Shane Ardern ($10.8 million), David Bennett ($9.1 million), Amy Adams ($9 million) and Eric Roy ($4.4 million) all have large farms among their property portfolios, while Dr Paul Hutchison is a director and shareholder in companies which own a home, apartment, commercial properties and a part share of a farm worth $4.3 million. All of the top 10 land-owners are National Party MPs.

Labour list MP Raymond Huo just misses out, with $4.2 million including a family home and five properties.





The series
Yesterday: The MPs who have not declared homes they hold in their superannuation schemes.
Tomorrow: What political parties and electoral branches own.