New Zealand Government commits $2.9 million for period products in schools

New Zealand will continue to provide free period products to primary, intermediate and secondary schools under a new funding arrangement.

The New Zealand Government has committed $2.9 million to continue providing free period products to primary, intermediate and secondary schools.  

Funding for the scheme, introduced last year, was due to expire in June. New Zealand’s Minister of Education Erica Stanford cited research from The University of Otago which estimated that up to 95,000 young New Zealand women could be missing school because of a lack of access to period products if the scheme were not continued. 

“This is an issue of dignity and ensuring young women don’t have to miss out on school because of something as simple as having access to period products,” Stanford said.

“Young women deserve equal opportunities in education, which is why continuing this initiative is so important.

“All primary, intermediate, kura and secondary schools will continue to be able [to] opt-in to the scheme, which will continue to benefit around 200,000 students.”

The global fight to end period poverty

ISSA, the world’s leading trade association for the cleaning industry, believes menstrual-care solutions should be as available in away-from-home bathrooms as soap, toilet paper, and paper towels. 

The association launched its End Period Poverty Campaign in partnership with the Hygieia Network, an ISSA Charity in 2022. This included a blueprint for ‘Best Practices for Menstrual Care in Public Restrooms.

“Providing reliable, attractive and easy-to-use dispensers stocked with tampons and pads – and a clean and easy means of disposal – patrons and employees feel that their needs and wellbeing (sic) are considered,” the report stated.

It also stated that offering free period products, dispensers and disposal solutions was “good for business as well as the right thing to do”.

An Australian snapshot

In Australia, Victoria was the first state to provide free period products in schools in 2020. South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory followed in 2021, while New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia introduced free sanitary items in schools in 2022.

A 2021 survey by Share the Dignity, which successfully advocated free products in Australian schools, found 48 percent of students admitted to sometimes missing a class due to their period.

In February 2024, the ACT Government, which already provided students access to free period products in public schools, announced it supported “free period products for all Canberrans” at designated accessible points. 

The ACT followed Scotland as only the second jurisdiction in the world to enshrine free period products in law. 

In the 2023/24 mid-year budget, the ACT Government committed to support the roll-out of free period products, ahead of the start of the Period Products and Facilities (Access) Act 2023.

Photo by Syed Hussaini.

Comment below to have your say on this story.
If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at
Sign up to INCLEAN’s newsletter.

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required