Out with the shotgun, in with the stilettos

GRANT BRYANT
Last updated 05:00 12/05/2014

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Invercargill's hunting, fishing MP Eric Roy has handed the southernmost National Party reins to Sarah Dowie, who's likely to be better known for her trademark stiletto heels.

During an address to National Party faithful at a weekend conference in Queenstown, longserving member of Parliament Roy's voice cracked with emotion as he recounted the effort he put in to win the right to represent the electorate.

"We turned Invercargill around in 2002, we campaigned eight months and wanted to meet 500 people a week - and we pretty much did," he said.

The decision not to stand in this year's election "was as hard as the first decision to stand," he said.

New candidate Sarah Dowie is a mother of two, married to former Otago cricketer Mark Billcliff, and the daughter of police officer parents.

The solicitor, who also has a science degree, has a strong interest in justice and community.

"That we are at a 30-year low in crime is something I am hugely proud of," she said.

Coming from a police family had instilled a sense of justice, but she showed many contrasts.

"I worked for the Department of Conservation in the commercial sphere, am a Rotary Club member and do pro bono legal work for Venture Southland and sports groups.

"While Eric was known for his hunting and fishing, I'll be happy if I can troop around Parliament in my stilettos."

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