YN Presidential Contender Joel Rowan

I’ve observed (or been involved in) the Young Nats for almost 30 years, and I’ve never seen the organisation stronger. Their membership is well into the thousands, with active branches on every campus. I suspect they almost have more individual paid up members than the entire Labour Party.

In the last few years they’ve had a big impact on policies. Their lobbying helped get voluntary membership of student associations through Parliament, kept the alcohol purchase age at 18, and convinced a number of National MPs to vote to allow same sex marriages. They’ve also played a huge role in digital campaigning, and helping marginal electorates at election time.

Many people have been part of their success, but a lot is due to Sean Topham and Shaun Wallis who are retiring after four years as President and Vice-President respectively. They have done a great job in making Young Nats a vibrant fun group that people want to join and is relevant.

This weekend, delegates will elect their replacements, and it is great to see that there is healthy competition for every position on their national executive. It’s great when so many people want to be involved at the top level. There’s even tickets and campaign websites.

As a lot of Young Nats read this blog, I’ve agreed to run guest posts by and Brittany Raleigh, who are both standing for the presidency. Joel’s post is below and Brittany’s will follow later today.


Joel Rowan (standing for President) and Katy Hendrikse (standing for VP)

I’m running to be the new Young Nats president.

You may have known that already. But you might not know why.

I decided to do this because I believe I’m the best person to lead our organisation through an important time. We’re supporting a third-term government and we have to work harder to keep winning support, and to win enough votes for a fourth term.

I led the Young Nats Digital Team, and our social media campaign throughout 2014. In that time we grew from under 6,000 fans to over 19,000 on Facebook. I led a team from around the country, and we delivered unprecedented results. Thanks to our campaign, thousands of young voters who probably would not otherwise have heard from National, saw at least one of our campaign posts. National won the campus booths at Otago University – renowned as a Labour stronghold. Our efforts online (and on the ground) made a difference.

I’m driven by a desire to make the Young Nats even better than we are today. I joined in 2011 and I’ve seen the very best of the Young Nats – great parties, policy victories, and a co-ordinated, successful ground campaign for the 2014 election. I’m really proud of our organisation.

But we can’t rest on those laurels. We can’t continue in the same way and expect to sustain the success of the last three years. That’s why I’ve assembled a team around me that is talented, smart, and made up of students in touch with the University campuses where we have the greatest potential for growth. They have the campaign experience needed to lead another winning effort in 2017.

We’ve built our plan based on things we want to do differently to positively change our organisation. We’re going to change the events that the Young Nats hold, and make it easier and more attractive to sign up, so we expand our membership. We’re going to change the way we form policy so that our supporters are engaged and have ownership of it. We’re going to better prepare for campaigns and equip our activists with the skills and resources they need to ensure National wins again in 2017.

My vision is to lead a friendlier organisation where new members feel welcome and everyday students can join, make great friends and strong networks while they learn valuable skills along the way. I believe when we do that we will grow in size, and gain influence, and be ready to win in 2017.

We’re the Team To Win not because we want to win on July 26. We’re the team to win because our plan will ensure we win new members, win new influence, and win the general election in 2017. That’s why I’m here.

If you want to know more about my team, visit teamtowin.nz

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