The National Party's youth wing, the Young Nats, have used a speech at the party's conference to express its dismay at the party's decision to vote against a ban on gay conversion therapy.
Young Nats president Stephanie-Anne Ross spoke to a packed auditorium of party members, MPs, the board, and leader Judith Collins this afternoon and used the speech to highlight the youth wing's disappointment.
The speech was closed to media, but people who saw it say it was given a standing ovation.
Ahead of the speech, Young Nat members distributed rainbow ribbons among National's MPs and the party rank and file, encouraging people to show their support.
MPs including Chris Bishop, Nicola Willis, Erica Stanford, Nicola Grigg, Matt Doocey, Joseph Mooney, and Mark Mitchell donned the ribbons, as did a large number of members.
The gesture came as the conversion therapy vote highlighted the weakness of the party's liberal wing in caucus who were unable to secure a conscience vote on the issue, allowing them to vote in favour of the bill at first reading.
Instead, following a caucus meeting on Tuesday, all of the party's MPs voted against the bill despite saying they agreed with the its intent - the only parliamentary party to do so.
Ross has previously voiced her disappointment with the caucus on conversion therapy, saying before the vote that the Young Nats were "deeply disappointed that the National Caucus has decided to vote against the legislation".
"Conversion therapy does not work, yet it causes irreparable harm to those within our rainbow communities," she said.
National's conference entered its second day on Saturday with the party voting to make a large number of changes to its constitution and electing board members.
Sylvia Wood, Jannita Pilisi, and David Ryan were all elected to the board for the first time. Stefan Sunde was reelected for another term.
The board will meet tomorrow to elect the party's president. The spread of board members suggests current president Peter Goodfellow is likely to continue serving as President, should he wish to.
For the first time since it was taken out nearly two decades ago, the Treaty of Waitangi will now be included in the Party Constitution.
Members have also voted to retain a large degree of control over the party's board through a series of rule changes.
Board terms have been extended from two to three years, but the party has voted to limit the number of terms someone can serve to three - unless that person is elected president in which case they may serve longer.
A move to have some appointed, rather than elected, board members failed.
The party also voted to ban candidates to "electorate hop". This prohibits a candidate from switching electorates after they have been selected.
In the 2020 election Nuwanthie Samarakone tried to gain selection in the Auckland Central seat following Nikki Kaye's late decision to retire at the election.
This caused controversy as Samarakone had already been selected to run by National in Manurewa - a staunchly Labour seat she was almost certain to lose.