Paula Bennett says 'there is a role to reduce the cost' of sanitary products for some girls

The cost of sanitary products could be reduced for girls who are not getting access to them, says Deputy Prime Minister and Women's Affairs Minister Paula Bennett.

'There is a role to reduce the cost for some,' Paula Bennett tells Seven Sharp. Source: Seven Sharp

The Government's drug-funding agency Pharmac said last month it's considering an application received last year to help with the costs of pads and tampons.

The agency was investigating whether the products fell within its sphere of what it is allowed to fund.

Asked on Seven Sharp last night if a decision is any closer, Ms Bennett said Pharmac is completely independent and will make its decision.

She said in her opinion, she thinks sanitary items are affordable for most but there are some for whom they are are not. 

"I'm absolutely appalled that their might be girls whose education is being held up because they are embarrassed or they can't get access to what they really need," Ms Bennett said, speaking on International Women's Day.

"There's organisations like KidsCan that the Government funds and others like that. I think there's ways we can get it through schools," she added.

"So no matter what Pharmac's decision is I think there is a role to reduce the cost for some girls who are not getting access to quite frankly the education and health benefits that all New Zealanders should get."

Despite the problems being faced by some New Zealanders, lowering the price on tampons and pads isn't on the government's radar. Source: Seven Sharp

Young women have previously told Seven Sharp they have been kept home from school during their period as their parents couldn't afford sanitary products.

Others have been forced to use rags and newspaper.

Following Pharmac's statement last month that it's investigating funding sanitary products, nearly 10,000 people responded to a 1 NEWS Facebook poll that asked if the agency should do so.

There are girls here in NZ that charities say are missing school because they can’t afford products they need. Source: Seven Sharp

The result was an overwhelming 15-1 in favour of the idea, with about 8,200 people voting to involve Pharmac and 520 against it.