Our Story

The Young Nats have been New Zealand’s largest youth political movement since we were founded in 1936. The Young Nats have a strong lobby inside the National Party.

Often the more open minded and liberal views of the Young Nats have been at odds with those in the senior party. The movement in party opinion in areas such as the nuclear ships debate, economic reform, liquor law reform, and anti-discrimination laws has often been led by the Young Nationals.

Our History 

The National Party has had a youth section since its inception in 1936, and are a constituted youth wing of the National Party. The Young Nationals have been a strong lobby group inside the National Party, and often at the forefront of policy development being representative as a Core Group or a Policy Action Group of the party at varying times. For a short period during the party's earlier years there was a younger section of the National party for pre-teenage members but has since disappeared due to the changing environment of New Zealand politics and society.

Prior to the group being named the Young Nationals, the New Zealand National Party's Youth section was known as the Junior Nationals. In the lead up to the 1949 election, the Wellington branch had 3,500 members and the Auckland branch consisted of 2,500 members. The group hosted a number of community events such as dances, parties, debating/discussion, and Lectures/addresses.

In 1967 the group voted to change the name to the Young Nationals as Junior Nationals was seen to have potentially negative connotations. This renamed group attracted members for political reasons rather than social activities like its predecessor. In 1968 the National Party agreed to for two Young Nationals to sit on the party's Dominion Council. 1971 brought upon Young Nationals creating political discussion groups called 'Pol Link's' which enabled the group to research and discuss political issues allowing the National Party to understand the contemporary issues of young generations. 

In 2009 the Young Nats were re-structured to be a more effective advocacy and campaigning body. The organisation is split across five regions (Northern, Central North Island, Lower North Island, Canterbury-Westland, Southern), each with their own Regional Executive teams and are overseen by an elected National Executive, led by the NZYN President.

The modern Young Nats are the largest grassroots campaign and policy group within the National Party and continue to be thought leaders for the future of the Party.


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