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MD of Simplicity Living Shane Brealey a NZ Herald Business Heroes finalist for 2022

Published on 14/12/2022

Shane Simplicity Living for NZH Business Heroes article v2

Simplicity is proud to announce that our MD of Simplicity Living, Shane Brealey, was one of four finalists for the New Zealand Herald's annual 'Business Hero of the Year' 2022 award for his great work in bringing build-to-rent housing to the forefront of the construction industry in New Zealand.

Engineer and businessman Shane, aged 60, is on a mission. Earlier this year, he spent eight weeks touring European build-to-rent projects to inform the system he’s devising. He hopes that one day the world will beat a path to our shores “to ask questions about the model we’ve developed in little old New Zealand”.

Brealey’s plan for build-to-rent housing, cooked up with his wife Anna and MD/founder of Simplicity Sam Stubbs, falls somewhere between the flash Canary Wharf apartments he toured in London and the uninspiring state-funded German projects he saw.

Shane and Anna Brealey are now halfway through a transition from running their private building business, NZ Living, to running Simplicity Living, a real estate developer and builder specialising in a start-to-finish approach - from land development to property management - all owned by Simplicity KiwiSaver and Investment Funds (which benefit from capital growth and the returns on the developments).

Simplicity is buying, at book value, NZ Living’s remaining build projects, which will be completed next year. The rest of the company will roll into Simplicity Living as a gift. The Brealeys will come too; they’ve agreed to run Simplicity Living for the next five to 10 years pro bono.

“Life has been good to us,” Brealey says from his home on Waiheke Island. “We have enough to do everything we want to do for the rest of our lives … we’re lucky enough to be able to just help.”

Brealey aims to strip some 20 per cent of the cost of developing land and building through a focus on cutting unnecessary costs and by using direct financing, and avoiding developers’ and builders’ margins.

It’s a business plan that’ll plough profits back to its pension fund owners, and will aim, once the development phase yields homes, to prioritise high occupancy and long tenure over high rent. Something that both Shane and Sam are passionate about, given the current housing crisis that New Zealand is experiencing.

Stubbs and the Brealeys reckon they can build 10,000 new homes for long-term rental in the next decade, something New Zealand’s tight, expensive and often insecure market is in dire need of.

We also congratulate NZH's overall winner, Miles Hurrell (CEO of Fonterra) and the other three finalists of the Business Hero of the Year award - Naomi Ballantyne of Partners Life, Rhys Jones of Vulcan Steel, and Theresa Gattung of the Gattung Foundation. 


More info

RadioNZ 1 March 2022 
Kathryn Ryan interviews Shane Brealey

Stuff 20 February 2022 
Rob Stock interviews Sam Stubbs & Shane Brealey
The Spinoff 
November 16 2021
Bernard Hickey interview Sam Stubbs and Shane Brealey