All schools in New Zealand will offer free period products

white cotton dental tampons in plastic container in clinic
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

As part of efforts to end period poverty.

Authorities are concerned that female students may be skipping classes because they cannot afford products such as tampons and sanitary pads. Its implementation follows a successful test programme last year in 15 schools.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “Young people should not miss out on their education because of something that is a normal part of life for half the population.”

The scheme will cost the New Zealand government NZ$25 (£13m, $18m) from now to 2024.

With low wages, a high cost of living and a growing housing shortage driving up prices, many people in New Zealand simply cannot afford sanitary items. Though New Zealand is among the world’s wealthiest nations, a study published last year by the charity KidsCan found that up to 20,000 New Zealand students were at risk of not being able to afford tampons or other femenine products.

Last November, Scotland became the first place in the world to offer sanitary products free for “anyone who needs them”, including at public places. In England, free period products were rolled out in all primary and secondary schools last year. A handful of US states have also passed laws mandating that free period products have to be provided in schools.