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Government commits $3m to period products

Campbell Macpherson
Period Products on Shelves
Period products in supermarket.  Campbell Macpherson/NZBS

The Coalition Government has announced it will commit $2.9 million to keep free period products in school.

Earlier this week, Minister of Education, Erica Stanford, announced the Coalition Government has committed $2.9 million to ensure period products are free for students in intermediate and secondary schools. Stanford says this is to ensure young women don’t have to miss out on school and are able to get the education they deserve.

All intermediate, kura and secondary schools will still have the option to opt in to the program, which the Government says will continue to benefit around 200,000 students. According to Otago University, around 95,000 young Kiwi women could miss school because of the lack of access to period products. Stanford believes that this is an issue of dignity, and it makes it less embarrassing for students to get period products when they need them.

"Young women deserve equal opportunities in education, which is why continuing this initiative is so important." - Erica Stanford, Minister of Education

Acting Minister for Women, Louise Upston, believes this is a great step in addressing period poverty in New Zealand. Upston wants the public to realise how important it is that conversations around this are normalised. Part of this is making sure young Kiwi women can access period products without feeling embarrassed. Upston says that the lack of access to period products can be extremely stressful, disruptive and can impact students’ confidence while learning.

Free Period Products in Schools
Dispenser in Local School CAMPBELL MACPHERSON/NZBS

Metro News contacted the Secondary Principal Association of New Zealand (SPANZ) who gave a statement from the Principal of Auckland Girls’ Grammar School. Ngaire Ashmore believes that the program has helped to remove significant barriers for students and their whānau. Ashmore and other principals in New Zealand are relieved that the Government has announced the commitment of 2.9 million dollars to the program.

"We are hopeful that the level of funding will be sufficient so that the program can be available to all schools and students needing access to these products." - Ngaire Ashmore, Principal of Auckland Girls' Grammar School

Both the Government and SPANZ are very happy with the results of the program so far. They hope that it will continue to support students, so they are able to learn to the best of their abilities.