National Party MP Gerry Brownlee has sternly denied bullying a junior solicitor during a phone call after claims from her firm she felt "intimidated and harassed".

Adina Thorn Lawyers alleges Brownlee was forceful with the solicitor during a 17-minute phone call on Monday, presenting a number of complaints and allegedly making bully-like comments.

However, the former Earthquake Minister rejects allegations he bullied the woman over the phone.

"I totally reject the suggestion that I was bullying and intimidating.


"It was a phone call and my questions were around the nature of the case that was being brought," Brownlee told the Herald.

His call was prompted after a letter was placed in his mailbox by the firm which encouraged homeowners to check if they have non-compliant steel in their homes.

Adina Thorn in 2014. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Adina Thorn in 2014. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Adina Thorn said Brownlee did not give his name until the end of the conversation.

"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.

The firm was "appalled" by Brownlee's call.

The junior solicitor suggested Brownlee bombarded her with a "tirade of questions" but didn't give her an opportunity to answer.

After the lengthy phone call, the woman had to leave work for the day, Thorn added.

Brownlee sympathised with the woman but said it was his duty as an MP to raise questions about a class action which is being run by the firm.


"These class actions are becoming more common in New Zealand. I think they're often pitched for people to think it's something they need to get," he said.

"It's all based essentially on fear, fear that you might not have in this case the right kind of steel in your foundation.

"I told them, 'I think you've got to be responsible about the way you go about these things'," Brownlee said.

Thorn believes the involvement of Brownlee, a sitting MP, highlights the need for a government inquiry into the non-compliant steel mesh issue.

Brownlee said that since the call on Monday afternoon the firm has not been back in touch.

Thorn acknowledged this and told the Herald she would be happy to talk to him about any issues he might have around their class action.