Wellington Scoop

After guilty pleas, PM starts moves to cancel Sir Ron Brierley’s knighthood

Report from RNZ
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has started moves to strip disgraced Wellington businessman Sir Ron Brierley of his knighthood.

In the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney today, Brierley pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing child sex abuse material, with 14 charges withdrawn.

Brierley’s barrister admitted he possessed “some images” but the exact figure is “in dispute”.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said she had asked for the forfeiture process to be initiated.

Brierley will have 30 days to respond, but after that the prime minister can write to the Queen asking her to cancel his appointment and he will be asked to return his insignia. He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in New Zealand’s 1988 New Year Honours, for services to business management and the community.

He was arrested in December 2019 on six counts of possession of child abuse material. Australian Border officials had found child sexual abuse material on his laptop and electronic storage devices.

Brierley will next appear in court on 30 April.

An old boy of Wellington College, he was one of the best known New Zealanders of the 1980s and 1990s – never far from the headlines or a new business buy-up. He became both feared and revered in business circles for his shrewd ability to spot companies with untapped value, which he would then take over and turn around for vast profits.

The “corporate raider” – as he’s usually referred to – founded Brierley Investments, which was one of New Zealand’s largest most successful and glamorous companies of the 1980s.

He was an expert at what admirers called “corporate rationalisation” – the ability to spot when to buy a company and reform it to extract more value.

The NBR’s 2019 Rich List estimates Brierley’s net worth is about $220 million, putting him at number 82 on the list of the wealthiest New Zealanders.


  1. Rob Suisted, 1. April 2021, 22:47

    Will Brierley get an unceremonious ConAir flight from Australia back to NZ? [via twitter]

  2. Steve Byrons, 2. April 2021, 9:34

    Services to the community … classic Boomer dog hounding after money at all costs. His kind signalled the beginning of the end of Real New Zealand.

  3. Jack Yan, 3. April 2021, 9:18

    Wellington College has done the right thing, taking Brierley’s name off the theatre. Feels gross to have his name in a place near any children. [via twitter]

  4. Ray Chung, 3. April 2021, 13:56

    Just for consistency, did Sir Ralph Love have his knighthood rescinded after his conviction and imprisonment for fraud?

  5. Peter Kerr, 3. April 2021, 14:32

    And your point, Ray, is what exactly? Please explain.

  6. Ray Chung, 4. April 2021, 16:06

    My point Peter, is that anyone who has committed a felony crime should have their royal honours rescinded. I’m wondering why it is that with some people, immediate action is taken yet with others, it just goes quiet. I consider that the same criteria should apply to everyone.

  7. D'Esterre, 4. April 2021, 16:39

    I read somewhere that Brierley has Australian citizenship. So if that’s so, he won’t be 501’d. But he’ll be imprisoned over there, I expect.

    Ray Chung: “…did Sir Ralph Love have his knighthood rescinded after his conviction and imprisonment for fraud?” It’s his son, Ngatata, of whom you’re thinking, I believe. He was indeed imprisoned for fraud. Yes. Sir Ngatata Love should have had his knighthood rescinded.

  8. Ray Chung, 4. April 2021, 19:54

    Thanks D’Esterre, I forgot that Brierley was an Aussie so why don’t we just let them sort it all out.


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