Dita De Boni 's Opinion

Business columnist, with a political twist, for NZ Herald

Protecting the unprepared

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Labour's initiative to introduce taxpayer funded condoms may help reduce New Zealand's incidences of unwanted pregnancy. Photo / Northern Advocate
Labour's initiative to introduce taxpayer funded condoms may help reduce New Zealand's incidences of unwanted pregnancy. Photo / Northern Advocate

Taxpayer funded condoms at the petrol station, supermarkets and dairies are apparently on the Labour Party's "to-do" list should they once again grasp the wet noodles of power.

I, for one, am firmly behind this initiative. It seems unlikely it will ever see the light of day, but still, the right intention is there.

Now if only we could have some way of alerting those about to mate that they should be checking their condom stash, the plan would be perfect.

Perhaps a kind of buzzer or set of flashing lights that would go off when senses are aroused. An alarm, interspersed with a message recorded by Phil Goff reminding you that babies are expensive but condoms are free, might just stop some in their tracks long enough to make a difference.

Seriously, though, it's the kind of innovative thinking we need.

Day-by-day it is becoming clearer that poor parenting is at fault for a huge number of societal problems, and if there is in any way of circumventing people becoming parents before they are ready or willing, then it can surely only be a good thing...

The second part of this plan will, of course, require a little bit more of a risqué, and potentially unpalatable approach. That would be ensuring that boys and men who have sex actually wear them.

It is incredible the number of stories you hear of where women and men have had sex, some without knowing each other at all, and condoms are not used.

These aren't just people who don't have them in the heat of the moment, but people who actually don't bother using them or thinking about them at all.

Men who take the word of women that they're on the pill. Well, maybe so, but what about STIs?

It's incredible that grown men and women can play roulette with their health in such a cavalier manner - and is a depressing reality after years of public education on the matter.

What would make men wear condoms? And yes, I think the issue is that men themselves have to see the value in wearing a condom.

Perhaps it is, as some suggest, the idea that your name is likely to go on any birth certificate nine months down the track.

Are there many people who would like their wages garnished for the next 18 years as a result of a casual one-night encounter? Let alone having their fertility compromised and general sexual health threatened.

If condoms were free and freely available, and if sex education for young people celebrated the condom rather than making it the butt of jokes and poorly performed learning examples (as it was in my high school days), and if young men had 18 years' worth of very good reasons to wear them, it might just go some way to making a dent in the seemingly intractable problem of pregnancy in those utterly unprepared.

Maybe?

- Dita De Boni

* Dita is now on Twitter, follow her Keeping Mum feed here.

Pictured above: Labour's initiative to introduce taxpayer funded condoms may help reduce New Zealand's incidences of unwanted pregnancy. Photo / Northern Advocate

Dita De Boni

Business columnist, with a political twist, for NZ Herald

Dita De Boni is a columnist, commentator and TV producer/journalist. She first wrote columns for the NZ Herald in 1995, moving to daily business news in 1999 for four years, and then to TVNZ in Business, News and Current Affairs. After tiring of the parenting/blogging beat for the Herald Online she moved back to her first love, business (with a politics chaser), writing a column for Friday Business since 2012.

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