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Sanitary product subsidy urged for young women

Aug 27th, 2011 | By | Category: Latest News, News

NOT CHEAP: Supermarket shelves stacked with women's sanitary products.

SUBSIDIES for sanitary products are being urged to assist students and young people on low wages.

The products are “horrendously expensive” considering many students live off the $170 Studylink living allowances says Caitlin Dunham,  women’s officer for the New Zealand Union of Student Associations.

Miss Dunham, pictured below,  says she does believe students budget for sanitary products, which can cost up to $5 a week.

“Alternatives should be better advertised. New Zealand should follow a British structure which exempts sanitary products from their version of GST. Remove the GST at the very least.”

Because women incur this cost out of their own pockets, she says alternatives such as the mooncup, should be both sold in supermarkets where they are more accessible, and be government subsidised.

The mooncup, pictured below, is a reusable silicon cup, about 5cm long, worn internally to collect menstrual fluid.

Linda Smith, spokesperson for Mooncup distributor Go with the Moon Linda Smith says her company would love supermarkets to stock the mooncup, “but they don’t seem to be interested”.

“I suspect it is because there is not a significant turnover,

a woman only needs one every 8 years or so, so the supermarkets make more money from the throw-away sanitary products.”

Medical receptionist at Evolve Youth Centre, Ailish O’Sullivan, says young people get caught out and can’t afford the items.

She says she gives out a handful every two weeks, which comes out of the Evolve budget.

ONE OPTION: An example of a mooncup.

Victoria University nurse Anna Hayman supports alternatives and wants holders of the Community Services Card to get a subsidy.

“In relation to a lot of other things subsidised on the card, it would be great to see them subsidised on the card.”

Rather than doing something like removing GST for all women, Mrs Hayman is more inclined to support a subsidy based on income.

“Now would be the perfect time to introduce a subsidy,” she says, considering the government announced plans to introduce an eftpos-style card for beneficiaries.

“It [the subsidy] could be linked to the new card.”

She says although university students are better educated than younger girls, they tend to spend their money when they get it and come out short when it comes to sanitary products.

While young people can get condom prescriptions from Family Planning for $3, there is nothing similar for sanitary products.

Family Planning communications advisor Sue Reid says they do not give out sanitary products.

Women’s Affairs Minister Hekia Parata was contacted by Newswire for comment but had not replied at the time of publishing.




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