'Some girls now take the pill to stop their bleeding' - charity says 'period poverty' forcing Kiwi girls to take desperate sanitary measures

A Kiwi youth charity has offered a disconcerting insight into the lengths to which some female students are resorting in an attempt to "micromanage" their periods - using the contraceptive pill to save money.

KidsCan chief executive Julie Chapman says feedback from school nurses and principals around New Zealand reveal the lack of access to female sanitary products due to cost is a major problem.

The comments were made as Countdown supermarkets today announced they are dropping the price of their homebrand tampons and pads.

"I think the one that has shocked me the most, which I'm just going to read to you, is 'some girls even take the pill now to stop their bleeding'," Ms Chapman said.

"So these are our babies, and we're talking really young girls, who are doing whatever they can to avoid having to deal with their periods, and basically they're trying to micromanage them by taking the pill.

"Now that to me is shocking. We've been aware of this issue, we've started putting sanitary items into schools about five years ago but we've seen it progressively get worse, in particular this issue.

Countdown will reduce the price of 15 of its Homebrand and Select range of tampon and pad products.

Competitor Foodstuffs. who own New World and Pak 'n Save supermarkets also released a statement today after Countdown's announcement, saying it also offers products at an "affordable price". 

Ms Chapman also said the problem gets worse in winter, when the cost of power and heating increases.

"It's a real issue and I think it's time New Zealand really took notice and we really addressed it because we're hearing it everyday, and girls are staying home from school," she said.

It has previously been reported by TVNZ that some families had kept girls home from school as they couldn't afford sanitary products, while others used newspaper or cardboard instead.

More stories by TVNZ on period poverty

MyCup NZ's community partnership programme is putting an end to period poverty in Northland. Source: 1 NEWS

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

Julie Chapman from the youth charity said many Kiwi students are “micromanaging” their periods, without access to sanitary products. Source: 1 NEWS