Countdown has dropped the price of its Homebrand and Select sanitary products to reduce period poverty among women and girls in Aotearoa and the move is expected to save customers $750,000 a year.
Countdown's General Manager Corporate Affairs Kiri Hannifin says period poverty is "a worldwide phenomenon and a reality here in New Zealand".
"Too many women go without sanitary products themselves so they can provide essentials like food and rent for their family, or for some families it's simply something they can't stretch their budgets to afford for their children,” says Hannifin.
“The fact that not all women and girls can access them is something Countdown felt we wanted to help address by making good quality products more affordable for all women.”
As part of the change, a pack of 20 of Homebrand regular pads has dropped from $3.50 to $2. A pack of 20 regular Select tampons has dropped from $3.49 to $3.
MP for Manurewa Louisa Wall says girls and young women have resorted to makeshift measures such as wearing socks in their underwear or using types of paper or torn sheets and cloth as sanitary protection when families can't afford sanitary items.
This leads to increased risk of infection or, because of stigma and embarrassment, it has also led to young people not attending school at all.
"Period poverty limits opportunities for current and future generations of Kiwi women, and the impact is much greater than missing a few days of school or not participating in sport or other social activities every month," says Wall.
Countdown is also retailing menstrual cups at 80 per cent of stores nationwide.