NZ supermarket chain cut costs of tampons and pads

NZ 24/07/2018

A New Zealand supermarket chain is tackling period poverty by dropping the price of their in-house sanitary items.

Countdown has dropped the price of its Homebrand and Select sanitary products to make them more affordable.

The price of a 20 pack of Homebrand regular liners has gone down from $3.50 to $2.00 while a 20 pack of Select regular tampons was dropped in price from $3.49 to $3.00.

Corporate Affairs General Manager Kiri Hannifin said one of the drivers for making sanitary products more affordable is to help address the worldwide phenomenon.

"Period poverty is a worldwide phenomenon and a reality here in New Zealand.  

"Too many women go without sanitary products themselves so they can provide essentials like food and rent for their family, or for some families, it's simply something they can't stretch their budgets to afford for their children."

She says sanitary products are a necessity for all women, no matter what.

"The fact that not all women and girls can access them is something Countdown felt we wanted to help address by making good quality products more affordable for all women," Ms Hannifin says.

MP for Manurewa Louisa Wall says women have resorted to dire measures to make makeshift sanitary items such as wearing socks or using types of paper or torn sheets.

This leads to increased risk of infection and because of the stigma and embarrassment it has also led to young people not attending school at all.

"Period poverty limits opportunities for current and future generations of Kiwi women, and the impact is much greater than missing a few days of school or not participating in sport or other social activities every month," Ms Wall says.

"Female sanitary products aren't a luxury but for Kiwi girls, women and families on tight budgets or low incomes, they're an expense that is simply out of reach."

The Salvation Army's National Secretary for Social Services, Major Pamela Waugh, says New Zealanders need to talk more openly to address this issue.

"It's essential women who are making every effort to support themselves and their families are not held back because they can't fit sanitary products in their budget."

In July 2016, Countdown, The Salvation Army and Ms Wall launched an initiative via The Foodbank Project to help stock Salvation Army foodbanks with sanitary products.

More than $190,000 of tampons and sanitary pads have been donated since then.

Countdown's move to lower the price of the sanitary items is expected to save customers $750,000 a year.