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Louisa Wall's new tactic to eliminate 'tampon tax'

Must See 07/08/2018

The Australian Government has moved to relieve period poverty by removing tax from women's sanitary products.

However, campaigners in New Zealand are taking a different route to achieve the same goal.

Tampons, pads and liners are deemed luxury items in Australia, meaning they have a 10 percent tax. But that looks set to change as the Australian Government moves to axe the so-called 'tampon tax'.

"It's something we believe in and millions of Australian women will benefit," says Australia's Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer.

Making sanitary items more affordable in New Zealand is something the Salvation Army has been pushing, with social services secretary Pam Waugh saying it's also an important health issue for women who can't afford them.

"We've heard of them rolling up newspaper; putting it inside socks; we've heard them using old sanitary pads that they've washed or recycled; and we've also heard about them using leaves and newspapers just so that they can actually function well."

MP Louisa Wall says making a health case as opposed to a tax case is the best hope of bringing down the cost for Kiwi girls and women.

But efforts to convince the Government's drug-buying agency Pharmac haven't been fruitful yet.

"I know there've been two previous applications to Pharmac about making sure that women's hygiene products are more available through prescription," says Ms Wall.

She says a Wellington doctor is now researching data about the different menstrual habits of girls and women.

"How many infections? Do those infections actually lead on to fertility issues for women? Do they contribute to our cervical cancer rates?"

She expects the research to be finished this year so another proposal to fund the products can be presented to Pharmac for a third time.

If successful, she says it will provide huge financial relief for families each month.