Gerry Brownlee

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Gerry Brownlee

Gerry Brownlee 2017.jpg
27th Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
2 May 2017 26 October 2017
Prime Minister Bill English
Preceded by Murray McCully
Succeeded by Winston Peters
Leader of the House
In office
19 November 2008 2 May 2017
Prime Minister John Key
Bill English
Preceded by Michael Cullen
Succeeded by Simon Bridges
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration
In office
7 September 2010 2 May 2017
Prime Minister John Key
Bill English
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded by Nicky Wagner
38th Minister of Defence
In office
6 October 2014 2 May 2017
Prime Minister John Key
Bill English
Preceded by Jonathan Coleman
Succeeded by Mark Mitchell
25th Minister of Transport
In office
12 December 2011 6 October 2014
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by Steven Joyce
Succeeded by Simon Bridges
Minister of Energy and Resources
In office
19 November 2008 14 December 2011
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by David Parker
Succeeded by Phil Heatley
Deputy Leader of National Party
In office
17 November 2003 27 November 2006
Leader Don Brash
Preceded by Nick Smith
Succeeded by Bill English
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Ilam
Assumed office
12 October 1996
Preceded bySeat Established
Personal details
Gerard Anthony Brownlee

(1956-02-04) 4 February 1956 (age 63)
Christchurch, New Zealand
NationalityNew Zealand
Political party National Party
Relations Mark Brownlee (uncle)
Scott Brownlee (cousin)
Alma mater St Bede's College
CommitteesPrivileges Committee (Deputy Chairperson)

Gerard Anthony Brownlee (born 4 February 1956 [1] ) is a New Zealand politician of the National Party.

New Zealand National Party Major New Zealand political party

The New Zealand National Party, shortened to National or the Nats, is a centre-right political party in New Zealand. It is one of two major parties that dominate contemporary New Zealand politics, alongside its traditional rival, the New Zealand Labour Party.


A Christchurch native, Brownlee worked as a teacher before being elected to Parliament at the 1996 election. He was deputy leader of the National Party from 2003 to 2006, and served various ministerial appointments in the fifth National government, including Leader of the House, Minister of Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Christchurch City in South Island, New Zealand

Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury Region. The Christchurch urban area lies on the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula. It is home to 404,500 residents, making it New Zealand's third-most populous city behind Auckland and Wellington. The Avon River flows through the centre of the city, with an urban park located along its banks.

1996 New Zealand general election

The 1996 New Zealand general election was held on 12 October 1996 to determine the composition of the 45th New Zealand Parliament. It was notable for being the first election to be held under the new mixed-member proportional (MMP) electoral system, and produced a parliament considerably more diverse than previous elections. It saw the National Party, led by Jim Bolger, retain its position in government, but only after protracted negotiations with the smaller New Zealand First party to form a coalition. New Zealand First's position as "kingmaker", able to place either of the two major parties into government, was a significant election outcome.

The Fifth National Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand for three parliamentary terms from 19 November 2008 to 26 October 2017. John Key served as National Leader and Prime Minister until December 2016, after which Bill English assumed the premiership until the National Government's defeat following the October 2017 government-forming negotiations.

Personal biography

Brownlee was born in Christchurch to Leo (a saw miller, who died in 1989) and Mary Brownlee. [2] He is the eldest of five children. [2] His uncle, Mark Brownlee, represented New Zealand in rowing at the Summer Olympic Games in 1964 and 1968, [3] and his cousin Scott Brownlee (Mark's son), represented New Zealand in rowing at the Olympics in 1992, 1996, and 2000. [4]

Mark Brownlee is a New Zealand rower.

Summer Olympic Games international multi-sport event

The Summer Olympic Games or the Games of the Olympiad, first held in 1896, is a major international multi-sport event held once every four years. The most recent Olympics were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) organises the Games and oversees the host city's preparations. In each Olympic event, gold medals are awarded for first place, silver medals are awarded for second place, and bronze medals are awarded for third place; this tradition began in 1904. The Winter Olympic Games were created due to the success of the Summer Olympics.

New Zealand at the 1964 Summer Olympics

New Zealand at the 1964 Summer Olympics was represented by a team of 64 competitors, 56 men and eight women, who took part in 35 events across 11 sports. Selection of the team for the Games in Tokyo, Japan, was the responsibility of the New Zealand Olympic and British Empire Games Association. New Zealand's flagbearer at the opening ceremony was Peter Snell. The New Zealand team finished equal 12th on the medal table, winning a total of five medals, three of which were gold.

A Roman Catholic, he attended St Bede's College where he twice failed to gain University Entrance. [5] After leaving high school, he worked in his family's timber business and received training in carpentry. After qualifying as a builder, he retrained as a teacher and taught woodwork, technical drawing and Māori, over a period of twelve years, at Ellesmere College, and at his alma mater, St Bede's. [5]

St Bedes College, Christchurch

St. Bede's College is a state integrated Roman Catholic day and boarding school in Christchurch, New Zealand, for boys aged 12 to 18. St. Bede's is the oldest Roman Catholic Boys' College in New Zealand's South Island. It is also the only Catholic day and boarding college for boys in New Zealand's South Island. Students at St Bede's are colloquially known as Bedeans. St Bede's College was founded in 1911 by the Marists, a religious congregation founded in Lyon, France in 1816.

Carpentry skilled trade

Carpentry is a skilled trade and a craft in which the primary work performed is the cutting, shaping and installation of building materials during the construction of buildings, ships, timber bridges, concrete formwork, etc. Carpenters traditionally worked with natural wood and did the rougher work such as framing, but today many other materials are also used and sometimes the finer trades of cabinetmaking and furniture building are considered carpentry. In the United States, 98.5% of carpenters are male, and it was the fourth most male-dominated occupation in the country in 1999. In 2006 in the United States, there were about 1.5 million carpentry positions. Carpenters are usually the first tradesmen on a job and the last to leave. Carpenters normally framed post-and-beam buildings until the end of the 19th century; now this old fashioned carpentry is called timber framing. Carpenters learn this trade by being employed through an apprenticeship training—normally 4 years—and qualify by successfully completing that country's competence test in places such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa. It is also common that the skill can be learned by gaining work experience other than a formal training program, which may be the case in many places.

Alma mater school or university that a person has attended

Alma mater is an allegorical Latin phrase for a university, school, or college that one formerly attended. In US usage, it can also mean the school from which one graduated. The phrase is variously translated as "nourishing mother", "nursing mother", or "fostering mother", suggesting that a school provides intellectual nourishment to its students. Fine arts will often depict educational institutions using a robed woman as a visual metaphor.

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
1996 1999 45th Ilam 47 National
1999 2002 46th Ilam36 National
2002 2005 47th Ilam9 National
2005 2008 48th Ilam2 National
2008 2011 49th Ilam3 National
2011 2014 50th Ilam4 National
2014 2017 51st Ilam4 National
2017 present 52nd Ilam5 National

In the 1993 election, Brownlee stood as the National Party candidate in the Sydenham electorate, where he campaigned unsuccessfully against Jim Anderton, the Alliance leader. In the 1996 election he contested the nearby seat of Ilam, and won by a comfortable margin. He has remained the MP for Ilam since that point, although his majority declined until making a strong recovery in the 2005 election.

1993 New Zealand general election

The 1993 New Zealand general election was held on 6 November 1993 to determine the composition of the 44th New Zealand Parliament. It saw the governing National Party, led by Jim Bolger, win a second term in office, despite a major swing away from National in both seats and votes. The opposition Labour Party, despite a slight drop in their support, managed to make gains in terms of seats. The new Alliance and New Zealand First parties gained significant shares of the vote, but won few seats. The election was New Zealand's last under the non-proportional first past the post electoral system.

Sydenham was a New Zealand parliamentary electorate, from 1881 to 1890 and again from 1946 to 1996. It had notable politicians representing it like Mabel Howard, Norman Kirk and Jim Anderton.

Jim Anderton New Zealand politician

James Patrick Anderton was a New Zealand politician who led a succession of left-wing parties after leaving the Labour Party in 1989.

Brownlee's roles as an MP have included serving as the National Party's Junior Whip, shadow Leader of the House, and as the Party spokesperson on superannuation, energy, transport, local government, Māori affairs, state-owned enterprises, state services, and ACC. He was Don Brash's Deputy Leader from 2003–2006, and has served as a minister and Leader of the House in the Fifth National Government. His most prominent role has been leading the Government's earthquake recovery efforts following the 2010, 2011 and 2016 earthquakes.

A whip is an official of a political party whose task is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. This usually means ensuring that members of the party vote according to the party platform, rather than according to their own individual ideology or the will of their constituents. Whips are the party's "enforcers". They ensure their fellow legislators attend voting sessions and vote according to official party policy.

Accident Compensation Corporation New Zealand Crown entity responsible for administering the countrys universal no-fault accidental-injury scheme

The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) is the New Zealand Crown entity responsible for administering the country's universal no-fault accidental injury scheme. The scheme provides financial compensation and support to citizens, residents, and temporary visitors who have suffered personal injuries.

Don Brash New Zealand politician

Donald Thomas Brash, formerly a New Zealand politician, was Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the National Party from 28 October 2003 to 27 November 2006, and the Leader of the ACT Party from 28 April 2011 to 26 November 2011. Before entering Parliament, Brash was Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand from 1988 to 2002.

In opposition

Brownlee challenged the vacant deputy leadership of the National Party in 2001, but was defeated by Bill English. [6] [7] English eventually succeeded to the leadership later that year. However, by 2003 Brownlee was seen by Labour Party MP Phil Goff and Scoop columnist Paulo Politico as a potential challenger to English's leadership. [8] [9] English was eventually replaced as National Party leader by former Reserve Bank Governor Don Brash. Brownlee was thought to be a possible deputy leader to Brash but declined to pursue the position, which went to Nick Smith.

Shortly after his election, however, Smith opted to take two weeks of stress leave, saying that the protracted leadership disputes had exhausted him. When Smith returned to Parliament, Brownlee challenged him for the deputy leadership. Informed of the challenge, [10] Smith resigned, and on 17 November 2003 Brownlee won the caucus vote unopposed. Initially, Smith alleged that while he was on stress leave, "a campaign to oust me was conducted in the media while I was under the leader's instructions to make no comment." [11] Audrey Young wrote in the New Zealand Herald that Brownlee and Murray McCully were rumoured to have been behind the campaign to oust Smith as deputy leader. [12]

After becoming a deputy leader, Brownlee continued his confrontational and colourful style of political debate. Following the controversy surrounding Brash's Orewa Speech of 27 January 2004, Brownlee became the National Party's spokesman for Maori Affairs in place of Georgina te Heuheu, who resigned from the position after refusing to endorse Brash's comments. Brownlee's approach to this portfolio involved criticising the government's policies regarding perceived special treatment for Māori, an issue at the core of National's 2005 election manifesto.

After the resignation of former National Party Leader of the Opposition Don Brash in November 2006, internal party discussion apparently ensued over the post of deputy leader. [13] Brownlee stepped aside as deputy leader and the new leader, John Key, appointed confirmed him as the third-ranked National Party MP.

In Government

Following the election of the Fifth National Government in November 2008, Brownlee was appointed a member of the Executive Council of New Zealand [14] and to Cabinet as Minister of Economic Development, Minister of Energy and Resources [15] and as Associate Minister for the Rugby World Cup. [16] He also became the Leader of the House, making him responsible for the schedule of Government business, allocating time for non-governmental and opposition business to be presented to the house and announcing the Business Statement for the Parliamentary sitting dates to the house and its members.

As the Government's most senior Christchurch-based MP, Brownlee led the Government's work in earthquake recovery after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. Following National's re-election in 2011 and 2014, Brownlee additionally served as Minister of Transport, Minister of Defence, and Minister of Civil Defence.

Brownlee was selected to represent New Zealand in London at the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. [17]

Brownlee voted against the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry in New Zealand. [18]

Controversy and faux pas

In Opposition

Brownlee received criticism during the 1999 election campaign when he ejected Neil Able, a 60-year-old Native Forest Action campaigner, from the National Party's 1999 election campaign launch. The ejection took place with what many, including watching journalists, considered excessive force. Neil Able started civil assault proceedings against Brownlee, seeking damages of $60,000. In 2002, a District Court judge found in favour of Mr Able that Brownlee had "used excessive and unnecessary force on Mr Abel when he tried to remove him from a staircase handrail". Brownlee was ordered to pay Neil Able $8,500 in damages. [19] [20] Brownlee later sought unsuccessfully to have $48,000 of his legal fees reimbursed by the Government. [21]

As Minister of Energy and Resources

In August 2009, Brownlee was criticised by Forest and Bird Spokesperson Kevin Hackwell for playing down government discussions to possibly allow more mining within conservation areas. Hackwell was reported as stating that "If the Government's to go down this line they could be buying a fight with the people of the Coromandel, with the people of New Zealand generally, who have put these areas aside and want them protected for their conservation values". [22] The New Zealand mining industry was reported as welcoming the move. [23]

In early December 2009, Forest and Bird released a leaked document that included the proposal to remove part of the conservation status of Mount Aspiring National Park to allow mining. [24] The result of the controversy was that the government decided not to explore considerations amongst significant debate on the issue in the House, in submissions to the Select Committees and within the National Party's own parliamentary caucus. [25]

On the withdrawal Brownlee stated "I suspect few New Zealanders knew the country had such considerable mineral potential before we undertook this process, and I get a sense that New Zealanders are now much more aware of that potential". He went on that it might contribute to economic growth and further stated that "New Zealanders have given the minerals sector a clear mandate to go and explore that land, and where appropriate, within the constraints of the resource consent process, utilise its mineral resources for everyone's benefit". An additional announcement from Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson pronounced that future National Park land would receive protections, stating that, "This is an added layer of protection for New Zealand's most highly valued conservation land..." [26]

As Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery

After the Canterbury earthquake of 4 September 2010, Brownlee, as the senior Christchurch-based Minister[ citation needed ], was appointed Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery on 7 September 2010. The role has given Brownlee substantial powers in supervising and coordinating the involvement of central government, local government, and the private sector in rebuilding Christchurch.

On 14 September 2010, Brownlee introduced the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010 into the house with leave to pass the legislation in one sitting. This Bill was passed by the time the House adjourned at 10.02 pm. [27]

In 2012, it was reported that the idea of using part of Christchurch's red zone for an international rowing regatta course known as East Lake had found the support of Brownlee as Earthquake Recovery Minister. [28]

In September 2012, Brownlee accused residents in Christchurch's newly created TC3 zone of "carping and moaning" for comments they made in a survey conducted by the main local newspaper. The comments were about perceived inaction by the authorities, including the government. He apologised soon after. [29]

As Minister of Transport

In March 2012, Brownlee made controversial comments about Finland, after he suggested during a parliamentary session that Finns are uneducated, unemployed murderers who don't respect women. With his comments Brownlee rejected New Zealand Labour Party's plans to model the economy on Finland, and added that Finland "has worse unemployment than us, has less growth than us, can hardly feed the people who live there, has a terrible homicide rate, hardly educates its people, and has no respect for women" - claims that were clearly unfounded. Brownlee's comments were addressed in Finnish media by Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, stating that Finland would not take any action as the comments were clearly a device for internal politics rather than an attack on Finland. He continued to say: "I doubt he even knows where Finland is." [30]

In November 2014 Brownlee was fined $2000 by New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority for a breach of airport security that occurred at Christchurch Airport on 24 July 2014. An official inquiry found that Brownlee and two of his aides had evaded airport security screening by entering a departure lounge through an exit door while in a rush to board a domestic flight. [31]

As Foreign Minister

In May 2017, less than a week after being appointed as Foreign Minister, Brownlee was publicly corrected by the Prime Minister, Bill English, after claiming that a New Zealand-sponsored United Nations Security Council Resolution on Israel (about settlements in occupied territories) was "premature". The Prime Minister said Brownlee was "still getting familiar" with the language used by his predecessor, Murray McCully, who had authorised the sponsorship of the resolution.

The Prime Minister said he had confidence that Brownlee was clear on New Zealand's position now, a position that had not changed since the Government had chosen to push through the resolution. [32] Brownlee had been a cabinet minister at the time.

See also

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  1. Alister Taylor (2001). New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa 2001 Edition. Alister Taylor Publishers. p. 177. ISSN   1172-9813.
  2. 1 2 Wright, Michael (27 February 2016). "Gerry Brownlee, the making of the man in charge". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  3. Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Mark Brownlee profile". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 December 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2016.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. 1 2 Young, Audrey (21 November 2003). "Gerry Brownlee, upstart with the big voice". The New Zealand Herald . Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  6. "Bunfight for deputy Nat leader begins". TVNZ. 1 February 2001. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  7. "English takes National's deputy leader job". New Zealand Herald. 7 February 2001. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  8. Phil Goff (10 January 2003). "Brownlee u-turn on nukes motivated by ambition". Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade New Zealand Government. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
  9. Paulo Politico (10 January 2003). "Brownlee's Uranium Breath Leadership Challenge". Scoop News. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
  10. "Brownlee mooted for deputy role". TVNZ. 17 November 2003. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  11. NZPA (17 November 2003). "Smith resigns after losing confidence of National Party leader". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
  12. Young, Audrey (18 November 2003). "McCully at centre of Nats whisper row". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 August 2010. The whisper goes that Mr McCully was so appalled that new leader Don Brash backed Dr Smith for the deputy leadership over Ilam MP Gerry Brownlee that as soon as Dr Smith had been bundled out of the building Mr McCully and Mr Brownlee began a campaign to ensure that Dr Brash would never want him back.
  13. "Power puts hand up for deputy's role". Wanganui Chronicle. 25 November 2006. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  14. "Members of Executive Council appointed". New Zealand Gazette. 21 November 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  15. "Appointment of Ministers". New Zealand Gazette. 21 November 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  16. "Ministerial List for Announcement" (PDF). 17 November 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  17. "Govt sends Brownlee to Thatcher's funeral". 3 News NZ. 12 April 2013.
  18. "Gay marriage: How MPs voted". The New Zealand Herald . 18 April 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  19. "'Humbled' MP accepts ruling on assault case". The New Zealand Herald. 16 March 2002. Archived from the original on 15 April 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  20. Thompson, Alastair (15 March 2002). "Gerry Brownlee MP Ordered To Pay $8500 For Assault".
  21. Trevett, Claire (7 April 2012). "We're paying for MPs' legal bills, but it's a secret". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  22. NZCity (1 December 2009). "Brownlee talks down mining plan". NZ City.
  23. NZ City/Newstalk ZB (27 August 2009). "Conservation land could be mined – Govt". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  24. NZPA (1 December 2009). "Leaked report recommends mining option for Mt Aspiring". The New Zealand Herald.
  25. Tracey Wakins & Vernon Small (23 March 2010). "Cracks Appear in Mining Plan". The Manawatu Standard. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  26. Business Desk (20 July 2010). "Brownlee mining dream in tatters". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  27. Hansard (14 September 2010). "Daily Progress of the House for Tuesday 14 September". Hansard and Parliamentary journals.
  28. "Could a water theme revitalise the east?". The Press . 18 August 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  29. Wright, Michael (12 September 2012). "Brownlee apologises for 'moaning' comments" via
  30. "Kohuministerin Suomihaukut" (in Finnish). Iltalehti. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  31. Rutherford, Hamish (18 November 2014). "Gerry Brownlee fined for airport security breach". Archived from the original on 18 November 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  32. Kirk, Stacey. "Gerry Brownlee 'premature' in making Israel comments: Prime Minister Bill English". Fairfax. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
New Zealand Parliament
New constituency Member of Parliament for Ilam
Party political offices
Preceded by
Roger Sowry
Deputy Leader of the National Party
Succeeded by
Bill English
Political offices
Preceded by
Pete Hodgson
Minister for Economic Development
Succeeded by
Steven Joyce
Preceded by
David Parker
Minister of Energy and Resources
Succeeded by
Phil Heatley
Preceded by
Steven Joyce
Minister of Transport
Succeeded by
Simon Bridges
Preceded by
Michael Cullen
Leader of the House
Succeeded by
Simon Bridges
Preceded by
Murray McCully
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Winston Peters
New title Minister for Canterbury Earthquake RecoverySucceeded by
Megan Woods
New title Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Succeeded by
Megan Woods
Preceded by
Nikki Kaye
Minister of Civil Defence
Succeeded by
Nathan Guy