Free Condoms for all

September 13th, 2009 at 12:27 pm by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

Taxpayer-funded at supermarkets, dairies and service stations are on today’s Party agenda.

But its rainbow sector group says it should only be for “basic” condoms – meaning the subsidy would not extend to the flavoured and ribbed varieties.

That is very fiscally restrained of them – not.

Now how much will free condoms for all cost? Already Pharmac spend $1 million a year subsidising condoms (including flavoured ones) by 10%.

Now a packet of 12 condoms cost from around $17.50 to $20.00.

Monthly condom sales in April 2008 were $6.1 million – or around 200,000 packets of 12. Around 70% of those are sold in supermarkets not pharmacies.

So Labour’s free condom policy would cost, on current sales, around $73 million a year.The exclusion of ribbed or flavoured condoms won’t mean much as their sales will almost disappear if standard ones are free.

However it is inevitable that when you make something free, demand will increase. I would conservatively estimate that the $73 million cost would easily exceed $100 million a year.

The party’s rank-and-file will today vote on the proposal, which its promoters say would help cut down on unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Condoms are presently subsidised only on prescription, but the suggestion that this be shifted to retail was put forward by both the health and rainbow sectors at the party’s national conference in Rotorua yesterday.

Labour’s health spokeswoman Ruth Dyson said the party wanted to look at innovative ways of stopping unwanted pregnancies.

I’m not sure there is much innovation in saying lets make taxpayers pay for it all.

She said it was obvious the type of person who had an unplanned pregnancy did not plan to go to the doctor for contraception either, “but they might whip into the supermarket on the way out”.

Dyson said it was still a “long way off”, and had not been costed yet.

Why not? The remit I presume was known in advance? Anyway I’ve just costed it for Labour.

Personally I hope Labour do promise to spend $100 million a year on free condoms. The reaction would just be wonderful.

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33 Responses to “Free Condoms for all”

  1. kiwirights (48 comments) says:

    It will cost less David than either abortions or unwanted children…

    [DPF: Only if you assume that price is the only barrier to condom use, which is not at all true.]

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  2. Angus (536 comments) says:

    Does that include aniseed flavoured ones, or indeed luminous ones ?

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  3. Tassman (238 comments) says:

    And if it’s not flushed down the toilet, it is washed up on the beaches and the footpaths… And there goes the Labour’s spiralling into the future

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  4. Angus (536 comments) says:

    This reminds me of a couple of condom jokes by UK comedian Jim Davidson:

    My mate stevie bought some flavoured condoms and his wife said “Oh put one on” Then she jumped under the bedclothes and came up a bit later and said “Oooohhh cheese and onion” Stevie said “I haven’t put the fucking thing on yet!”

    He said “I got a luminous one, a luminous condom. I said “you’re joking”. “No” he said “It glows in the dark”. The wife said “oh go ahead stick it on, lie on the bed, I’ll put the light out, run into the room bollock naked and leap right on it !” I said “That must’ve been a laugh” He said “It was, I put it on the fucking bedpost!”

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  5. boomtownprat (281 comments) says:

    Excellent. Normal service resumed from the “mushie” wing of the Labour Party

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  6. dimmocrazy (286 comments) says:

    What a fantastic initiative, think of all the great avenues of profit and convenient use of these free condoms. First one could export the free prophylactics to countries where the price level warrants the transport costs (just about everywhere), second think party balloons, rubber bands, water bombs and the thousands of other practical and unpractical other uses for such free items. Thought plastic supermarket bags were bad for the environment when they were free, ha! Wait for condoms suffocating the pristine environment once they are distributed for free.

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  7. Graeme Edgeler (3,274 comments) says:

    [DPF: Only if you assume that price is the only barrier to condom use, which is not at all true.]

    No. All you have to assume is that it is a barrier.

    Now how much will free condoms for all cost? Already Pharmac spend $1 million a year subsidising condoms (including flavoured ones) by 10%.

    You should also factor in the cost of subsidised doctor’s visits that result in prescriptions for subsidised condoms.

    I don’t know what the result of these changes in, but it is something to be factored into in evaluating the cost/benefit. As would the likelihood that the government wouldn’t pay full retail price…

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  8. Murray M (455 comments) says:

    Some DHB’s are providing free oral contaception, emergency contraception (ECP) and condoms free to under 25′s. Personally I can’t see supermarkets and service stations being too keen to deal with the hassle of the paper work required to be reimbursed for the provision of such a service. Pharmacies are already doing this to a limited extent so they are the more likely outlet.

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  9. peterwn (3,208 comments) says:

    AFAIK markups on condoms are horrendous. If Labour did dish out free condoms, Pharmac would probably be able to get them for a fraction of the present cost (say $20M a year).

    Of course some people like things free. A former VUWSA president stood on a platform of lobbying for free internet and printing on University computers. Just think of all the general and local body election handouts and lamp post posters that could be produced for free for the Workers Party etc.

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  10. Leonidas (1,387 comments) says:

    Just think of all the money they could spend on propaganda, I mean promotion.

    And all the teachers they could employ to teach 12-13yr olds where to get and how to use them.

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  11. Spam (596 comments) says:

    It is subsidies they’re talking about, not “free”.

    Family planning already providing these, without the cost of a doctor’s visit.

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  12. Simon Lyall (101 comments) says:

    So what is going to happen when people start picking them up by the tonne and then shipping them to other countries to sell? An extra checked in bag should easily pay foe the airfare to Sydney.

    I thought it was only stupid countries like Venezuela that subsidized easily transportable products.

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  13. nickb (3,675 comments) says:

    If only Ruth Dyson’s parents had the benefit of this policy in their day.
    Incidentally I’d like to see some statistics on the amount of free contraception that is provided by our public health system. Why would you not just make the pill free instead?
    If you did that then hopefully you’d see a similar reduction in welfare and otehr costs…

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  14. infused (646 comments) says:

    Just because condoms are free isn’t going to make people start using them. I wouldn’t. I hate the fucking things

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  15. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    Let the Labourites and everyone else f**k at their own expense.

    When will the socialists learn that many of us reject a subsidy like this? Never. The comrades are thick as a plank.

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  16. Grizz (244 comments) says:

    If you have a community services card, a doctor can now prescribe you 144 condoms for a $3 prescription. In spite of this, people do not take advantage of this. Sadly, there are many people out there who would rather the government take responsibility for them than they take responsibility for themselves.

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  17. Chuck Bird (4,749 comments) says:

    Why the fuck would a person go to a doctor to get prescription for condoms?

    If they do not want to get pregnant there are far more reliable methods like the pill a long acting contraceptive injections like Lindsy Mitchel suggests on her blog.

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  18. pete (428 comments) says:

    So will this increase condom use?

    However it is inevitable that when you make something free, demand will increase. I would conservatively estimate that the $73 million cost would easily exceed $100 million a year.

    Or will it have no effect?

    Only if you assume that price is the only barrier to condom use, which is not at all true.

    So did you forget the benefit side of a cost-benefit analysis because of …

    a) stupidity?
    b) dishonesty?

    [DPF: You have fallen into the mistake of thinking increased acquisition of condoms will lead to fewer unwanted pregnancies.

    Some couples will merely swap birth control method. Others will just acquire far more than they use (common effect when free). And yet others may set up a black market to sell them overseas.]

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  19. Fletch (6,135 comments) says:

    BAD BAD idea. More condoms actually leads to more pregnancies, abortions, and STIs.
    As poster ‘Family Life’ said on NZ Conservative –

    I can provide you with reliable research from Uganda which shows a massive reduction in adolescent sexual activity AFTER condom based sex education programs were dropped and replaced with abstinence based programs instead.

    It’s basic risk replacement theory – people will expose themselves to greater risk if they wrongly believe that the previous level of risk has been removed.

    So it is with condom based sex education – our kids are led to believe that condom use removes all risk, and so they take greater risks with their sexuality because they wrongly believe that condoms provide an immunity to sexual disease.

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  20. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Philin has spent the weekend saying sorry for the socialists many screw ups perhaps this is a way of saying Liarbore hopes for no more “mistakes”.

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  21. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    Lets think about this for a moment….

    I could live with the free condom idea, I really could, if it saves one unwanted pregnancy or abortion then I am all for it.

    Of course the left refuse to face the real issue here, a high percentage of our unmarried pregnancies or single mum pregnancies are planned, the mothers know full well what they are doing and full well why they are doing it….the DPB.

    Once again we see the left coming up with a semi reasonable idea while still refusing to tie any personal responsibility into the deal.

    So, lets have tax payer funded condoms, it may well cost us $100 million but if at the same time you announced free condoms you announced an immediate end to the DPB you would really be doing something about it the problem of “unwanted” pregnancies.

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  22. hs (8 comments) says:

    $20 for 12 condoms?! Go to Pak’n’Save, $12.50-13 (on special usually) for 12 Ansell’s…

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  23. nickb (3,675 comments) says:

    Totally agree bruv.

    However condoms from family planning are pretty much free already, and im pretty sure the pill almost is too. The fact that this is the main headline to come from Labour’s conference is a joke though.

    I’ve often considered the idea of providing free contraception while stopping the DPB, and agree it is an excellent one.

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  24. pete (428 comments) says:

    You have fallen into the mistake of thinking increased acquisition of condoms will lead to fewer unwanted pregnancies.

    That’s only a mistake if my assumption is wrong. You meanwhile, managed to overestimate the costs while carefully avoiding even mentioning the possibility of any benefit.

    Some couples will merely swap birth control method. Others will just acquire far more than they use (common effect when free). And yet others may set up a black market to sell them overseas.

    And others will use condoms instead of having unprotected sex.

    Of course your customers don’t want that, because sinful activities should have unpleasant consequences.

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  25. Viking2 (11,252 comments) says:

    http://pmofnz.blogspot.com/2009/09/social-inclusion-with-free-condoms.html

    The Opposition announced today that it is changing it’s emblem to a condom because it more clearly reflects the Opposition’s political stance.

    A condom stands up to inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation, protects a bunch of pricks, and gives you a sense of security while it’s actually screwing you.

    Free condoms are apparently a cost effective method of combatting global warming.

    From the cost-benefit analysis, it has been found that family planning (considered purely as a method of reducing future CO2 emissions) is more cost-effective than most low-carbon technologies.

    It is recommended that an optimum mix of carbon-reducing methods includes family planning as one of the primary methods.

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  26. Viking2 (11,252 comments) says:

    The above post clearly shows that Labour are adopting the Green Party policy of reducing the number of people on earth to help the cause of global warming.
    Part of the new detent between the two parties.
    Labours goal is to fuck the greens without getting them pregnant.
    Just who will be fucking who makes the mind boggle.

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  27. Viking2 (11,252 comments) says:

    http://roarprawn.blogspot.com/2009/09/labour-party-captured-by-prophylactic.html

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  28. Fletch (6,135 comments) says:

    Don’t take my word for it. Ask an expert. The below is in regards to HIV mainly, but the risk-compensation part is related.

    ‘We have found no consistent associations between condom use and lower HIV-infection rates, which, 25 years into the pandemic, we should be seeing if this intervention was working.”

    So notes Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, in response to papal press comments en route to Africa this week.

    “The pope is correct,” Green told National Review Online Wednesday, “or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope’s comments. He stresses that “condoms have been proven to not be effective at the ‘level of population.’”

    “There is,” Green adds, “a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded ‘Demographic Health Surveys,’ between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction ‘technology’ such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by ‘compensating’ or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology.”

    Green added: “I also noticed that the pope said ‘monogamy’ was the best single answer to African AIDS, rather than ‘abstinence.’ The best and latest empirical evidence indeed shows that reduction in multiple and concurrent sexual partners is the most important single behavior change associated with reduction in HIV-infection rates (the other major factor is male circumcision).”

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  29. Steve (4,520 comments) says:

    Free Condoms for all? even the dysfunctional dropkicks?
    eerrrr “My wife is going on a Pacific Cruise, she bought a box of condoms and she doesn’t even have a dick”

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  30. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    When will the socialist morons learn in government terms, there is never any such thing as “free”. Someone always has to pay. Sadly, its hardly ever those who vote for Labour.

    Can’t these useless socialist bastards ever have an idea that doesn’t in some way or other involve looting the public purse??? Can’t they ever think outside the perspective of looting the producers in order to bribe the bludgers so they will then vote for Labour?

    Brain damaged parasites.

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  31. Madeleine (230 comments) says:

    This is so funny.

    What about those of us that don’t need condoms or dislike them? Like Matt says they are like “swimming in a raincoat.”

    Will Labour pass a law stating everyone must use them and then get National to back an amendment that the police should exercise discretion as to minor offences that are not criminal despite their being disallowed in the criminal code and not prosecute their non-use?

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  32. Offshore_Kiwi (557 comments) says:

    What utter hypocrisy from Liarbore. How dare they advocate taxpayer-funded personal responsibility on this public health issue, when they obviously don’t believe in the concept of personal responsibility?

    They wanted to poison all bread with folate, to stop birth defects, so why on earth would they want people to have to stop and think before jumping into the sack? Surely, if you want to stop the vast majority of unwanted pregnancies you simply legislate to put contraceptives into all ready-to-drink beverages and all McDonalds, KFC, Burger King and Wendy’s? With the RTDs they have a targetted market, because the only people who drink them are the scatty, silly 17-year-old slappers who are most likely to get themselves knocked up during a binge. And sure, at least half of the people who eat at those fast-food outlets don’t need, and could potentially be harmed by, having contraceptives added to their food, but think of the greater good (sound familiar?).

    Of course, I’m not sure why Liarbore would want to stop unwanted pregnancies at all – that’s the next generation of Liarbore voters being popped out. Are they trying to kill off their constituency?

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  33. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    big bruv wrote:

    Of course the left refuse to face the real issue here, a high percentage of our unmarried pregnancies or single mum pregnancies are planned, the mothers know full well what they are doing and full well why they are doing it….the DPB.

    OK, good point. So free condoms aren’t the answer. In that case, why not just make the DPB available free at supermarkets, dairies and service stations?

    cheers

    Malcolm

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