1,000 signatures reached
To: The Ministers of Health and Finance
Take GST off tampons and sanitary pads and other related reusable products
We ask you to take the Goods and Services Tax (GST) off tampons, sanitary pads and other related reusable products, to remove barriers to access to these essential products.
Why is this important?
Taxing non-optional items such as sanitary pads is unfair and forces households already under pressure to make choices between hygiene and other essential items such as food.
It is estimated that in a lifetime, someone who uses sanitary products every month will have to spend close to $10,000 on tampons alone. The high cost of tampons, sanitary pads and related products impact most on people with a lower income.
Everyone who needs tampons, sanitary pads and other related, reusable products, should have access regardless of income. They are essential items and when access is restricted it can create health risks.
Agencies such as the Salvation Army and budgeting services are finding that young girls in New Zealand are unable to afford tampons and are missing out on school because of this. There have been reports of girls and women using rags, newspaper and even of people washing and re-using sanitary pads which is unhygienic, and infections have been reported.
In February I started an OurActionStation campaign to encourage Pharmac (the New Zealand government agency that decides which pharmaceuticals to publicly fund) to subsidise tampons and sanitary pads for everyone.
However on 18 April it was announced that Pharmac has declined the application, as in its view, “sanitary products are not medicines or medical devices."
Pharmac's decision is a big disappointment and a wasted opportunity. It could have been a chance for Pharmac to really stand up and support girls and women who are paying a huge amount to bleed in this country.
There is something we can do though. Many countries around the world have removed the tax from tampons  or are campaigning to remove it,  making these products more accessible and we reckon New Zealand should do the same here!
"Especially for young people, children at school. The young girls are getting to that stage of life and some of them are missing school, because their families can't afford to buy sanitary products. We know the stories of women having to wash store-bought one-use sanitary pads and then reuse them, which is quite unhygienic and also quite degrading in a sense. We're hearing of women getting infections."
Pam Waugh, The Salvation Army head of social services
1. Pharmac rejects request to fund tampons, pads, RNZ, 19 April 2017 http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/329040/pharmac-rejects-request-to-fund-tampons,-pads
2. Pharmac considers funding sanitary products, RNZ, 20 Feb 2017 http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/324865/pharmac-considers-funding-sanitary-products