Gerry Brownlee is the Member of Parliament for the Christchurch constituency of Ilam, a seat he has held comfortably since 1996.
Ranked number four in Cabinet, he is Minister of Defence, Leader of the House (with responsibility for the Government’s legislative programme), Minister of Civil Defence, Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission, and Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration.
He became Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister since soon after a devastating 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch on 4 September 2010. His role got much larger following the 22nd of February 2011 when a 6.3 magnitude quake hit the city, killing 185 people and resulting in widespread residential and commercial property destruction. The earthquakes, and the subsequent rebuild of New Zealand’s second largest city, are New Zealand’s costliest event.
Gerry was born and educated in Christchurch and has lived in the Ilam electorate all his life. After leaving St Bede’s College, Gerry began his career in the family timber business. He trained as a carpenter, gained several trade qualifications and operated his own business. In 1980 Gerry trained as a secondary school teacher and he taught until 1995.
Following a long involvement in the National Party he won the constituency of Ilam in 1996. During his political career he has served as Junior Whip and Deputy Leader of the National Party, Minister for Economic Development, Minister of Energy and Resources, Associate Minister for the Rugby World Cup and Minister of Transport.
Gerry has always been involved in the local community and served on the Riccarton Bush Trust. He is a strong advocate for sport and cultural activity for all New Zealanders.