If it bleeds, it leads: Petition to remove GST from pads and tampons [UPDATED]

supplied via NZ Herald


Please note Melanie emailed us to request we fix an error that the NZ Herald made.  Here is her email.

Hi Cameron,

My name is Melanie Wilcock and I am part of the petition to remove GST from sanitary products which you wrote an article about. I’m not emailing you to be rude or anything, I respect your opinion.

I would just like to ask you if you could please rephrase the quote you extracted from the NZ Herald article with all the “like” as it was wrongly quoted and as I presume you got it from the NZ Herald, they have also change it now after being informed of their mistake. I do not feel particularly comfortable being quoted on something I did not say.

Also with what you said “On top of that, they look well fed, well educated, well looked after and won’t ever be short of the $5 a month they need because their parents aren’t morons.” I completely agree with this as we know we are in ways more privileged than others and we are extremely grateful for that. Which is why we are using our privileges to stand up for those who simply cannot afford the essential necessities that we can. We are not doing this petition for ourselves, we are doing it for those who are struggling in our community whom deserve better.

We understand how difficult this change would be but we aim to push for the government to at least address and identify the issue as it is a much larger one under the surface.

Kind Regards,
Melanie Wilcock

It concerns me the NZ Herald made up a quote.   Have they really sunk that low?  Like?


A petition that two college students started as part of a school project has gained more than 20,000 signatures as more people push for GST to be removed from sanitary items.

Whangaparaoa College students Melanie Wilcock and Rebecca Jacobs were given an assignment for their sociology studies which involved them doing a project on a policy or law they believed needed to be changed.

The 17-year-olds decided to turn their project into a petition to have the 15 per cent GST removed from sanitary products.

They are entitled to their opinion, and good on them for looking for support for their idea.  

“We believe it’s, like, such an important issue in our developing society. The women are embarrassed about, like, a natural bodily function because they can’t afford it,” Melanie said.  [See Update – Ed]

She said some people couldn’t afford to pay for pads and tampons and were having to reuse products, something which increased the risk of a potentially fatal illness, Toxic Shock Syndrome.

“It just shouldn’t be happening.”

Women and girls who couldn’t afford sanitary products were taking a week off school or work once a month, but were too embarrassed to say anything about the issue, Melanie said.

I find it hard to believe that a 15% reduction in price will make the difference here.  As we have seen from previous stories, using budget pads from the Wharehouse will cover you for a month for less than $5  Will $4.35 a month improve the lives of these people?

There is a nice thing about GST that it applies to everything.  It does not have any loopholes.  And I don’t blame these young women for not appreciating the need for that.

If it is done on the basis of affordability in the context of poorer people needing things that nature causes on their behalf, perhaps we should also not pay GST on doctors’ visits and medicines.  Or any medical treatment.  Any physio.  Any mental health assistance.  Marriage counselling.  You could make a long list.

GST on houses?  All materials of a basic house should be GST exempt.  Only additional luxuries would attract it.  A government decision would be that you can have this size deck GST free.  Any size over that would attract GST.  A two car garage – no GST.  A three car garage – GST.   Or, once the politics change and the government wants fewer cars, only one car garages are GST exempt.

Once you start bringing a moral judgement to a tax system as to what should and should not be taxed, the whole thing becomes a huge mess as voters will disagree with administrators as to what should and should not be included.

So.  A+ for the assignment.

But I can only hope they’ll learn that they weren’t that smart in the end.  On top of that, they look well fed, well educated, well looked after and won’t ever be short of the $5 a month they need because their parents aren’t morons.


– NZ Herald

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