Sarah Dowie

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Sarah Dowie

Sarah Dowie.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Invercargill
Assumed office
20 September 2014
Preceded byEric Roy
Personal details
Political partyNational
Spouse(s)Mark Billcliff (separated in 2018)

Sarah Maree Dowie (born c. 1975) is a New Zealand politician who was elected to the New Zealand parliament at the 2014 general election as a representative of the New Zealand National Party and holds the Invercargill seat.

Early life and career[edit]

Dowie's parents, Ann and Alan Dowie,[1] were both police officers.[2] At age 15 in 1990, she was a member of a semi-professional dance group that performed in the Soviet Union.[2] Before her election to Parliament, she worked as a lawyer.[1][2]

Dowie attended the University of Otago, studying law and ecology. After graduating, Dowie worked for the law firm Macalisters and later the Department of Conservation.[2] Dowie joined the National Party and was affiliated with their "Blue Greens" environmentalist faction.[2] She is married to Mark Billcliff, a former first class cricketer for Otago, but it is understood they have separated.[3] Dowie has two young children.[1]

Political career[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2014–2017 51st Invercargill 57 National
2017–present 52nd Invercargill 41 National

Dowie was selected by the National party to replace retiring MP Eric Roy in the Invercargill electorate; at the time, she had a low profile.[4] In the 2014 election, she won with a large margin to Labour's Lesley Soper.[5][1] She was returned again in 2017 with a slightly reduced margin, but still beating Labour candidate Liz Craig, who was elected to parliament from the Labour list. She also defeated sitting New Zealand First MP Ria Bond, who was too far down the list to be re-elected.

On 25 January 2019, Dowie was revealed as the MP who had an affair with fellow MP Jami-Lee Ross. Ross had disclosed this in October 2018, but the news media chose not to name her at the time. After it was learned that a police investigation had been launched into a text message allegedly sent by Dowie to Ross, media revealed her identity. If the message is found to breach the Harmful Digital Communications Act, Dowie could face up to 3 years in prison, or 14 years if Ross had tried to commit suicide.[6][2]


  1. ^ a b c d Berwick, Louise; Mcdougall, Nicci; Mcleod, Hannah (20 September 2014). "Soper won't stand again as Dowie wins city vote". The Southland Times. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Savory, Logan (25 January 2019). "Sarah Dowie: A journey from talented dancer to representing Invercargill in parliament". Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  3. ^ Houlahan, Mike (26 January 2019). "Dowie's reign as Invercargill MP looks to be over". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Invercargill Nats hopeful hits ground running". The Southland Times. 24 March 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  5. ^ "Official Count Results -- Invercargill (2014)". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Barry Soper: Sarah Dowie, the police inquiry, and the text from her phone". Newstalk ZB.

External links[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Eric Roy
Member of Parliament for Invercargill