Venn Spearman Young was a New Zealand politician. He was a member of the National Party, and served as a Cabinet Minister in the government of Robert Muldoon. He is known for his failed attempt to legalise "homosexual acts" in 1975.
Young was born in Stratford, Taranaki, on 19 February 1929. He attended primary school in Stratford, but received his high school education in Nelson, at Nelson College. He then returned to Taranaki, becoming a dairy farmer. He gained some distinction as a rugby player, representing Taranaki. He was also active in the Anglican Church.
In the 1966 elections, Young stood as the National Party's candidate for the Egmont seat, and was successful. He was to hold Egmont in the next three elections, gaining a straight majority each time. At the 1978 elections, the Egmont seat was dissolved, and Young successfully contested the new Waitotara electorate. He remained the MP for Waitotara until his departure from politics.
In mid 1974, Venn attracted considerable controversy by putting forward a private bill to legalise private "homosexual acts" between consenting adults. The proposed age of consent was twenty-one, and although this was later reduced to twenty by a select committee, a number of homosexual lobbyists criticised it on this count. By far the most vocal criticism, however, came from conservates, including many of his National Party colleagues. On 4 July 1975, the bill was defeated, with 34 votes against and 29 votes in favour. There were 23 abstentions.
Despite having alienated many of his party colleagues, Young entered Cabinet when National won the 1975 elections. Robert Muldoon, the new Prime Minister, appointed Young to the Lands, Forests, and Environment portfolio, which he held for two parliamentary terms. In 1981, Young was moved to the Social Welfare portfolio, which he retained until National's defeat in the 1984 elections.
Young retired from parliament at the 1990 election, although not before another homosexual law reform bill (promoted by Labour's Fran Wilde) was successfully passed.