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Law Firm Target of Inappropriate Phone Call

Law Firm Target of Inappropriate Phone Call From Senior National MP

The head of an Auckland law firm planning a class action against manufacturers of non-compliant steel mesh is surprised and disappointed that one of her staff has been targeted by MP Gerry Brownlee.

Following the firm’s recent efforts to reach out to people who may have non-compliant steel mesh in their homes or commercial buildings, Mr Brownlee telephoned Adina Thorn Lawyers on Monday afternoon and confronted a junior solicitor with a number of allegations and complaints, and made bullying comments. The call lasted more than 15 minutes.

“We are appalled that a senior member of Parliament would attempt to intimidate anyone planning a legal action,” says Adina Thorn. “The junior solicitor was incredibly upset after the call she received from Mr Brownlee. She felt intimidated and harassed.”

Ms Thorn says the National MP for Ilam in Christchurch didn’t identify himself until the call was almost over.

“It is incredibly unprofessional for a sitting MP to ring a private law firm, make numerous allegations and bullying comments, and not identify himself until the very end of the call. It was only after 15 minutes that he identified himself as Gerry Brownlee, former Earthquake Minister, and offered up his Ministerial phone number. The motivation for the call seems unclear, however we do wonder if Mr Brownlee was attempting to intimidate us in order to try and derail a proposed class action related to the non-compliant steel mesh. We can see no other reason for the angry and intimidating call. We should all be concerned about this kind of behaviour; it’s unacceptable for an MP to interfere in this way,” she says.

Ms Thorn says that the scale of the steel mesh fiasco, particularly for Canterbury, and now the interference of a sitting MP, highlights the need for an independent Government inquiry into the non-compliant steel mesh and steel debacle.

“This is a large-scale problem, potentially affecting hundreds if not thousands of victims, involving mesh that was supposed to be of a certain standard but is not. Who knew about this and when? If Mr Brownlee feels so strongly about the steel mesh mess, perhaps he could spearhead a drive to get an inquiry off the ground to ascertain who is responsible and how victims can be properly compensated,” she says.


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