8 Mar 2012

Graeme Hart climbs the billionaire list

2:31 pm on 8 March 2012

New Zealand businessman Graeme Hart is still New Zealand's richest person, climbing seven spots on the list of the world's richest billionaires.

Mr Hart ranks 178th on the Forbes magazine list with an estimated fortune of $US5.7 billion.

Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim has once again claimed the top spot.

Forbes estimates that Mr Slim, whose business interests range from telecommunications to construction, is worth $US69 billion - $US5 billion less than last year.

He is followed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates on $US61 billion and US investor Warren Buffett $US44 billion.

The chairman and editor in chief at Forbes Media, Steve Forbes, says the results show there hasn't been a lot of economic growth in the last year.

While there are 16 more billionaires on the list, some regions such as China and Russia, had fewer this year.

Mr Forbes says author J. K. Rowling dropped off the list, though the UK added four new billionaires in all.