Minister of Defence

Hon Gerry Brownlee MP, Minister of Defence
Image courtesy of National Party website

The Hon. Gerry Brownlee


Gerry Brownlee is the Member of Parliament for the Christchurch constituency of Ilam, a seat he has held comfortably since 1996.

Ranked number three in Cabinet, he is Minister of Defence, Leader of the House (with responsibility for the Government’s legislative programme), Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission, and Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery.

He became Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister  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 before gaining several trade qualifications and operating his own business.  In 1980 Gerry trained as a secondary school teacher at the Christchurch College of Education, and he taught until 1995, becoming of Head of the Technical Department at St Bede’s.

Following a long involvement in the National Party he won the constituency of Ilam in 1996.  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.

Previous roles

1998 – 2000 Junior Party Whip; 2003 – 2007 Deputy Leader of the National Party; 2001 – 2008 Shadow Leader of the House; 2008 – 2011 Minister of Energy and Resources; 2008 – 2010 Minister for Economic Development; 2008 – 2011 Associate Minister for the Rugby World Cup; 2011 – 2014 Minister of Transport.

Committee service

1996 – 1999 Deputy Chair, Social Services Select Committee; 1998 Chair, Special Committee for Accident Compensation; 2002 – 2005 Chair, Commerce Committee.

This page was last reviewed on 5 November 2014, and is current.