Our College Programme

The National Party values the highly democratic and locally driven process for selecting our candidates under our Rules and Constitution. Our members rightly expect candidates of the highest quality, honesty, and integrity, to represent them, and our Party, in Parliament.

From Sir Apirana Ngata to Sir Keith Holyoake, Adam Hamilton, and Sir Sid Holland, our founders chose to call our Party ‘National’ because of their core values and belief in representing the interests of all New Zealanders. Their movement built our vision for New Zealand, and it is this movement that drives us forward.

Unashamedly, the National Party is a broad church and we’re proud of the values that bind us. This reflects the historic fabric of the urban and rural, younger and older, and conservative and liberal roots that helped form our Party in 1936.

Whatever your skills or background, the National Party will always have a place for you to contribute, and help us build a more ambitious and aspirational New Zealand. So, I encourage you to get involved and make a difference.

Peter Goodfellow

Our opportunities for the future

New Zealand is an incredibly diverse and ambitious country. We punch above our weight internationally and we’re known for our hard work, ingenuity, and compassion.

Right now, we have an amazing opportunity to ensure that the National Party continues to reflect that same sense of hope and aspiration for the future with the candidates and officeholders we put forward to represent us.

The National Party is full of talented and experienced Kiwis from all walks of life. Together, our community, business, and social networks also run deep and wide.

Now is the time to actively encourage the next generation of community representatives to take that critical first step and begin the process of becoming a candidate or officeholder.

Our democratic processes are best served when local delegates are able to choose from a wide range of people that have the depth, intelligence, and passion to serve their community and we must encourage them to do so.

Submitting an application

We’re looking for candidates and campaign officeholders that represent and live up to our Party’s values. People we would be proud to have representing us as a National Member of Parliament or working on the frontlines of a campaign. We need people that:

  • Can represent their community and New Zealanders effectively.
  • Have the intellectual rigour to contribute to policy work & debate. 
  • Are personable, resilient, honest, and would make good MPs and party officeholders 
  • Understand the New Zealand political environment, machinery of government and relevant legislation & laws.
  • Place value on their involvement in the National Party, our institutions, members and supporters. 
  • Are the best team of candidates and officeholders possible to help present a strong and credible alternative Government.

As the National 101 programme has commenced for this term in late February 2022, online applications have now closed. If you’re still interested in joining, we can consider late applications by emailing our team at [email protected].

After attending our National 101 seminar, you may be invited to apply for one of our two College Programme streams.

National 101 - Introduction

National 101 is a predominantly digital programme of seminars that provide an overview on the National Party’s College Programme, how the Party works, and what you can expect in the day to day life of a candidate, MP or officeholder.

You’ll get to hear from current and former candidates, MPs, Party office holders, and other guest speakers on the expectations, responsibilities, and leadership needed in being a candidate or campaign officeholder.

No two days are ever the same on a campaign and it is essential that you have a good grasp of the realities of campaign life. We’ll put you through the paces with assessments to give you practical experience.

Participation in National 101 will serve as an opportunity for College Committee members to get to know your strengths and skills and to recommend the best next step for you, whether it’s to progress to the Candidate’s College (for potential candidates) or to the Campaign College (for future officeholders).

Being a candidate or campaign officeholder isn’t for everyone, and we want to ensure that we are setting you up for success in your career in the National Party, whichever path you may take.

Candidates College

The Candidates College is a rigorous, selective entry programme that serves as the National Party’s primary institution for training, upskilling, mentoring, and vetting our future candidates.

We’ve put great care and thought into the new and refreshed programme, based on previous years’ feedback from members and participants, to ensure it meets the needs of our people and sets you up to understand and excel as a candidate and hopefully an MP.

From managing teams and volunteers effectively, media, fundraising, and wider communication tools, to the use of data, social media, and how to maximise results in red and blue seats, we have a core college component for eveything you’ll need to know.

Your success is National’s success, and we’ll make sure to provide you the wraparound support and guidance you need.

Campaign College

A strong, local, and well run grassroots team is the key to success for any political Party.

Building strong electorates and regions is essential for the National Party. To do that, we must continue to train the next generation of campaign leaders and take advantage of the wealth of institutional knowledge amongst our wider network of members, volunteers, and supporters.

The Campaign College serves as the National Party’s primary institution for training and upskilling our future campaign officeholders in core campaign craft, who ultimately provide leadership to our grassroots teams.

Our new programme takes into account feedback from members and officeholders on core campaign craft they would like to upskill in, and some international perspectives, tactics, and opportunities from centre-right political parties from across the world.

Together, every Party Vote gained for National is a step forward to Government and delivering our vision for the future of New Zealand.

Candidate Selection

Once you graduate from Candidates College, you may wish to stand for selection as a candidate.

The National Party runs an incredibly democratic process to select our Party candidates. Our electorates are fiercely local, and it is essential to have a wide range of candidates standing to ensure delegates can select the best person.

Candidate selections typically begin 18 months prior to a General Election, and every electorate is required to hold a selection.

Part of your training during the Candidates College will have included a mock run-through of the types of selections available to electorates under our Rules, and this should serve as a good base of what to expect during the process. The Candidates College also forms part of our wider vetting processes.

If you are fortunate to be selected as a candidate, a further mandatory on-boarding process is delivered to supplement your existing knowledge of what to expect as a new candidate.

Our Selection Processes

Before standing for selection, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the National Party Constitution and Rules governing the types of selections open to electorates. Particularly Rules 87-188.

Delegate Selection: One voting delegate shall be elected for every 10 members of the electorate, up to at least 60 delegates. Regional top ups are added if an electorate does not have sufficient membership, with a preference for local members and surrounding electorates.

Universal Suffrage Selection: All qualified members of an electorate have the opportunity to become voting delegates in the selection of a candidate.

Board Selection: If an electorate has fewer than 200 members, the candidate selection shall be the responsibility of the Board which shall consult with the Electorate Executive.

The Candidates College is no substitute for the important work we do alongside our electorate members, Special Interest Groups, and Policy Advisory Groups. You can read more about the Rules governing candidate selections, delegate criteria, and the selection process at: www.national.org.nz/rules.

National Party College Committee