National commit to fund a mental approach to birth control.
Code Name: Every Sperm Is Sacred.
Are women the new Māori?
Since Christopher Luxon has been leader National have shown they’re prepared to throw Māori under a bus. Be it not wanting them to have a seat at the table on water management, referring to the Treaty as a “little experiment”, or the monocultural candidate selection polices they justify by saying they can’t find “high calibre” Māori.
They have cynically calculated that they will win more votes doing so than they will lose. Are they also now prepared to do the same with women?
I received an email from Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall last evening, along with tens of thousands of other people:
Nick, I thought you’d want to know this right away.
Christopher Luxon today told reporters that if elected, National would increase fees for people who need contraception - showing the world that he’s even more out of touch than we already knew.
I hadn’t been paying attention to social media or the news. We were having dinner and enjoying a guilty, somewhat embarrassing, pleasure. My middle son Johnny, the one who started Uni this year, and I watch Australian Survivor together. I’m not proud, but sometimes you need to turn your brain off.
Sure enough there were lots of social media updates coming through on Mr Luxon’s latest election winning strategy.
Friends started commenting. “Just lost every woman’s vote”, “How can anyone trust they won’t do anything with abortion if they get into power with this stance?”, “He thinks women should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen....NO SELF RESPECTING female could vote for them!”, “A pack of wide-eyed religious fruit loops”.
This one summed it up well - “WTAF?”
There must have been a mistake, I thought. Yes, Luxon does appear to be quite out of touch with much of New Zealand, but this? It had to be a leftie beat up, didn’t it?
Turns out it was quite accurate, as per this article from Newshub, which begins - “The National Party says it will reintroduce the fee for contraception prescriptions if it wins the election.”
When Newshub asked Luxon why people needing contraception every month wasn't a high medical need, he said: "I'm just trying to say from a prescriptions point of view we're taking a very simple policy and say 'let's target it to people who most need help getting support in actually paying for these bills'.
"We don't want people not able to take medicine, take the drugs that they actually desperately need to get hold of." Luxon said it was a "different issue" when asked whether it was fair people needing contraception had to pay prescription fees.
The Health Minister said contraception was an essential part of healthcare and cost should not be a barrier. "Medicines for mental health, epilepsy and other conditions are also essential. They’re not nice to haves," Dr Ayesha Verrall said.
Incredibly, while he was being questioned about National not funding these contraception fees, he made it clear there would be exceptions for Community Services and Gold Card holders.
Of course there would be many on National’s benches who would be loathe to disrupt birth control to Community Services card holders, people they refer to as “Bottom Feeders”. I’m sure privately some would like to make it mandatory, and preferably not easily reversible. But Gold Card holders? Seriously?
Ok ladies, don’t worry, if you’re over 65 National says you can have your contraceptive pills for free - isn’t that generous?
As ever with National this is a little more nuanced than just saying poor people and old people can have it and everyone else pays. There are others impacted.
Family Planning welcomed the announcement in the recent budget that the Government was to scrap prescription fees. Chief Executive Jackie Edmond said it would help young people's access to contraception. Yesterday she had the following to say:
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