The colourful history of National Business Review has finally ended after 50 years. It hung on a year longer that I predicted with sales at the end less than a tenth of its heyday, thus suffering the fate of all print media.
Three decades back it was on death’s door when Barry Colman bought it for a dollar. Colman had publishing form, producing freebie trade publications which he reputedly sold for around $15m. Taking ownership, he promptly banged himself in the NBR Rich List at $100m and to much amusement, remained at that figure for the next quarter century. This has to be the greatest investment feat in history, namely to (allegedly) have 100m which over decades never rose or sank a cent.
Last year the sucker, new owner Colman had sold NBR to, an ex-butcher called Todd Scott, now reduced to living in a motor home, finally settled up with Colman. At the same time he produced the last ever Rich List and surprise, surprise, to much amusement, Colman after a quarter century at $100m, abruptly rose to $150m. One suspects this nonsense was part of a final settlement deal. Plainly this bullshit meant a lot to Colman.
That said, it cannot be denied that under his ownership NBR evolved into a first-rate publication. Under Scott’s it faded away to a pointless pamphlet. The end of NBR also marks the end of the Rich List which has a colourful history.
As long-time NBR editor Neville Gibson once told me, the genuinely rich found it embarrassing and intrusive while the genuinely poor dreamers were always appealing for inclusion. Thank God it’s finally ended.
Meanwhile in some sad videos Scott rambles on about driving about in his motor home wherever life takes him while simultaneously continuing NBR as an online subscribe ‘service’. Good luck with that, more so in the face of quality competition from “Business Desk” with its high calibre industrious writer/owners Brian Gaynor and Patrick Smellie. Hopefully someone with a sense of humour will now write a book about NBR’s colourful history.
If the now owner of NBR is driving around the country in his motorhome he should be able to identify all the Maori statues that need to be pulled down that relate to their ancestors that raped, pillaged, ate and enslaved their own race.
The NBR had some good writers such as Owen McShane’s intelligent pieces on RMA and “smart planning”, Neville Gibson, Nathan Smith and Dr Neville Bennett on economics. I am unsure if Colin James wrote for NBR. The gap does not seem not have been filled but that may well reflect the age we live in.
Todd Scott was good to me and I thank him for that.
Owen McShane on RMA with detours across 20th century philosophy and Martini recipes. A memorable anti-planner.
Maybe the now owner could go around in his motorhome and identify all the statues of Maori rapists, pillagers, cannibals and slavers, suggesting they be pulled down.
I really fear that the logical next step in NZ will be far-right protesters causing havoc with Maori ‘ tokens’ and buildings. Remember when the idiot Smith chopped down the pine tree on One Tree Hill in auckland? There were muted responses. The reponses to what is now taking place will not be muted. And they are unnecessary. If ardern showed some guts and made a statement voicing the govt. displeasure it might help. But she won’t. she is desperate for the Maori seats in the election and will do anything not to get offside with Maori. Its called racism. But its plain to see. I’m hoping like hell that Mr muller will grown some and come out against the racist behaviour….again I aint holding my breath. I believe National have a chance to win the election by speaking up for the ‘ average’ kiwi and our lifestyles. We don’t need green party pollies saying she believes in anarchy. I think that the win by Boris in the last UK election was a vote for common sense. As was ScoMo’s win in Aussie. I just hope it rubs off here.
It must be so great to be Bob !
Business Desk would leave the NBR for dead.
The NBR has had its day and the only thing left is for Tim Hunter to abandon the sinking ship before he goes down with it.
Not sorry to see it’s demise given the rubbish it had turned in to.
its not dead just yet – they email me every morning – when does it die ?
Perhaps the new owner of the NBR could do what a chap did in the 1970’s and mail out pro forma invoices nationwide for tabloid advertising. These invoices were for a low monetary amounts so quite often the cheques were dispatched but the advertisement was never published. Being a pro forma invoice, it was arguable that the invoice was illegal as there was no obligation to pay it. Perhaps you may of received one Sir Bob, I know my Father did.
Is NBR closing? When? My subscription still seems to be active. Are you talking just about the NBR rich list or the subscription service? I don’t find it too bad. There’s a dearth of any sort of business news in NZ. I find Richard Prebble’s column thought provoking. Don’t always agree with him but the discussions on his column are always interesting.
I did buy the NBR rich list magazine a couple of times when I was at the supermarket, however it never really engaged me and usually ended up on the dust heap unread. Maybe the stories weren’t well written or inspiring enoough. I guess these days you can just google someone’s name and then their net worth and get an idea of the number. Of course it’s not going to be exact, might even be wildly out, but everyone knows these numbers are just a bit of fun.