NZ’s Countdown slashes price of women’s sanitary products
New Zealand supermarket chain Countdown is receiving high praise for dropping the price of women’s sanitary products in a bid to battle “period poverty”.
Countdown is one of two major supermarket chains in New Zealand and is a subsidiary of Australia’s Woolworths Group.
The change will see a pack of store brand pads go from about $NZ3.50 to about $NZ2 ($A1.85) and is expected to save women about $NZ750,000 ($A689,792) a year.
Countdown general manager of corporate affairs, Kiri Hannifin said, “Too many women go without sanitary products themselves so they can provide essentials like food and rent for their family. The fact that not all women and girls can access them is something Countdown felt we wanted to help address.”
As in Australia and around the globe, the price of tampons and pads has become a social issue in New Zealand. Unsuccessful bids have been made to the country’s medicine-buying agency to fund hygiene products while multiple charities have been set up to help collect and distribute donations of the items.
Labour Party member for Manurewa Louisa Wall – who with the Salvation Army in 2016 launched a project to distribute tampons and sanitary pads through foodbanks – was among those backing the move. She said she had encountered stories of women resorting to using socks, newspaper, or reusing pads to get by.
“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,” she said. “We’ve all got to work together to address this issue and make it easier to ask for help.”
No political moves have yet been made in New Zealand towards removing GST from sanitary products – partly because of the more consistent way the tax is applied across the board.