I think I can safely speak on behalf of most of my gender: there isn't much to envy about menstruation.

And argue as the PC-gone-mad crowd may, paying for sanitary products simply isn't the same as men having to pay for razor blades.
Exorbitant as it is these days to purchase a pack of refill razor cartridges, going without a shave is a whole lot less impactful than going without tampons or pads.

The reports of young Kiwi women being forced to use newspapers or rags should be enough to shut up any contrarian man.

But Pharmac made a reasonable decision in refusing to fund better access to women's sanitary products.


I don't envy the powers-that-be who have to make the tough decisions on behalf of the Government's drug buying arm - there's never enough money for everything, and inevitably a decision to fund one person's medicine or healthcare comes at the expense of somebody else.

But it isn't Pharmac's responsibility to pay.
Pharmac should be focused on drugs.

Women who don't have access to sanitary products may in some cases end up with infections or health complications, but menstruation is a normal bodily function.
Funding pads and tampons should be a preventative health measure, rather than the responsive treatment that Pharmac typically provides for.

Instead, we already have the social agencies in place to ensure poorer New Zealanders have the access to sanitary products they need. It's just a question of funding.
And surely all of us will concur that it's nuts to have young women missing school or getting sick for want of a few basic sanitary items.

The Government has stepped up its funding - the $50,000 it pledged to the children's charity KidsCan will make a significant difference in accessibility.

But wouldn't most of us, men and women alike, support a better system for providing pads and tampons to young and poor New Zealand women? The things can be alarmingly, prohibitively, expensive.

Newspapers and rags!

Still, maybe we'd just prefer a tax cut.


Jack Tame is on NewstalkZB Saturdays, 9-noon.