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Candidate Profile - Dan Rosewarne

Dan Rosewarne is taking his second shot at standing in the Waimakariri electorate as the Labour Party candidate. We sat down with Dan and asked him to share with us his background, why he’s standing in Waimakariri and what’s important to him.

Tell us a bit about your background:

Married and with two young kids, Dan and his family have lived in the Waimakariri electorate since 2005 and currently lives in Woodend.

Dan comes into the role as an Army Officer in the NZDF. Starting out as a diesel mechanic doing his apprenticeship through the army; Dan rose through the ranks, was promoted to lieutenant, and now serves as a Captain. A role that took him all around the world, Dan has served in Afghanistan twice as well as the Solomon Islands as part of the Regional Assistance mission.

Dan has spent a lot of time doing civil emergency work over the past fifteen years. He was part of the planning team immediately after the Christchurch earthquakes in 2011 and was key in establishing the welfare centres and security cordons. Dan was also involved with the coordination or army capabilities and delivery of essential supplies into Kaikoura following the Kaikoura earthquakes. Finding this work extremely rewarding Dan enjoyed serving New Zealand in a different way, and not long after was selected as the Labour candidate.

During the last election Dan was also involved with the Port Hills fires, and more recently has been heavily involved in the Covid-19 response. While juggling his campaign he has also been contributing to the All-of-Government pandemic response, managing and coordinating the isolation facilities in Christchurch, and conducting planning for the wide range of tasks the NZDF are involved with.

While his job currently covers a range of different areas, Dan is excited about the prospect of serving New Zealand in a slightly different way.

What made you want to become an MP?

This is Dan’s second time running in the Waimakariri electorate after he had a go in the 2017 election. Dan never really thought about joining politics but there was one life event that “flicked the switch” for him, and that was being hit with a cancer ‘brick’ seven years ago when he was diagnosed with leukemia. As a 33 year old fit young man with a young family, Dan was hit hard and in an instant felt like he moved from a strong father figure providing for his family - to a patient who’s family wanted to wrap him in cotton wool. After the initial shock around what this would mean for him and his family, Dan then experienced a crash course into the Public Health system.

Dan got an insight into how tough some people were doing it. As he sat in the Haematology Department waiting room wondering what his results would be, Dan described looking at the faces of who was there alongside him. The despair of the daughter who was sitting with her newly diagnosed father, the comforting company of the nurse with the woman who had outlived her husband and now had no one to support her in the fight, and the young man who was contemplating how could this could happen to him.

Going through the health system Dan saw so many opportunities where New Zealand could be providing better for people in their time in need. While Dan’s form of leukemia used to be a death sentence, there is now an immunotherapy drug that Dan takes twice a day which now supresses the cancer cells so Dan can continue to work and live a healthy life.  

It’s this brush with cancer that turned Dan’s mild interest in politics into something more serious. Living with Cancer gave Dan a new perspective, now holding a strong belief that New Zealanders deserve the best treatment, they deserve compassion and they deserve a health system that puts them first.

How will Waimakariri benefit from having you in this role?

Dan feels he reflects the society that lives here. He has a young family, he knows what it’s like to battle away and pay off a mortgage, he knows what it’s like to come up against unexpected bills, and knows what it’s like to suffer health issues.

Based in Woodend, Dan says he understands the local issues including the Woodend Bypass – having two young children that cross that road themselves. Dan understands the challenges people are facing right now in these uncertain times because he is experienced it first-hand.

Dan comes into this role “owing no favours” and is driven by the Labour values of giving everyone a fair go. He highlights that he doesn’t have any rich mates or wealthy donors, and instead his campaign is funded from sausage sizzles, raffles, and other fundraisers. Dan says Waimakariri will benefit from having him in this role because if you go to Dan with an issue he will give it his all to get you the result you need, because he serves you and you alone.

What are some of the ‘big issues’ that you are most passionate about?

First is the health care system. Dan is passionate about PHARMAC and broadening the range of medicines available to people, as well as making access to medical assistance, treatments, and prevention strategies equal across the whole country. Some examples are is the investment of mental health services in Canterbury and the rolling out of the National Bowel screening programme to more DHBs.

On a local level, Dan focusses on jobs and the future of work as NZ responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the level 4 lockdown earlier in the year, Dan got the opportunity to conduct over 1200 welfare phone calls to people in our electorate and says this was the biggest issue that came up. In the coming years people will need to retrain into new roles and it will be important to enable this as much as we can, says Dan.

Mental health is also huge concern for Dan, the prevalence of mental health issues and the ability for mental health initiatives to get out into the community.  

What is your point of difference? What strengths do you possess that would make you the best person to spend our vote on?

One promise that Dan makes is that if he is elected as your candidate, he will advocate for you as he would for everyone in the electorate.

Dan’s strengths are that he’s aware of his weaknesses, sharing that he’s had to battle hard for all his achievements, and nothing has come his way easily. He’s not the usual person who enters politics, the ‘type A personality’, but instead someone who possesses real life experiences and a broad skill set not often seen in parliament. He describes himself as “one of you” and ready to work for New Zealand. Dan highlights from his military experience to his trades experience or tested leadership ability – investing your vote in him puts someone like you in Parliament – and Dan holds fast in his resolution to never loose sight of why he decided to embark on this journey.

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