Would you like condoms with that?

Northland District Health Board is hoping anyone indulging in a spontaneous summer dalliance will give a resounding "yes" to this question, by helping themselves to one - or two - of more than 4000 free condoms it is handing out to Whangarei bars.

The DHB deployed the contraception at eight licensed premises in Whangarei, with the aim of reducing unplanned pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) over summer. The Old Stone Butter Factory was among the first bars to embrace the idea.

"They [the DHB] gave us a call and said would we be interested in helping to promote safe sex? I said, 'hell yeah'," said events manager Hannah White.


Owner operator Jess White said her staff were occasionally asked by lust-struck patrons whether the bar sold condoms.

"In fact, it would be great if the DHB gave out tampons as well," she said. "But yes, when people are [drinking] inhibitions do get lost ... Keeping people sexually safe is something I'm very supportive of."

Ms White said she would probably put the condoms out once the bar's restricted licence kicked in at 10pm.

"We'll just have a few in there at a time, so people can't get silly, and we always have a staff member right by the register. I don't see managing the distribution as being a problem, the benefits far outweigh that," she said. Northland DHB sexual health adviser Bronwyn Morunga said the condom rollout was part of the "Plan, Pack, Protect" campaign, which aimed to get people to be sexually responsible, particularly when alcohol was involved.

"A lot of people may not intend to go out and hook up. The whole purpose is to make condoms more accessible."

Some liquor stores had also got on board with the promotion and it was up to individual operators how they wanted to distribute the condoms.

Ms Morunga said while there was no particular link between the summer period, sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies, people tended to be in "holiday mode".

"I don't think I could say it's 'STI season', but we do know it's a festive season. Especially young people are in holiday mode. It's that relationship between alcohol and sex," she said.


"[With] unplanned pregnancy, it only has to happen once and you could be a parent in the New Year."