Claire Trevett at NZ Herald reports:
Low uptake negates fears beneficiaries and daughters being pushed into free scheme, says minister’s office.
Only 35 women took up the Government’s offer of free long-term contraception for beneficiaries in the first five months – far short of the number expected.
Last July, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett announced the Government would pay for female beneficiaries and their daughters aged 16-19 to get long-term contraception such as an implant, intra-uterine device or the Depo Provera injection.
She set aside $1 million over four years for the policy – enough to fund thousands of grants covering doctors’ fees and contraceptive costs each year.
However, in its first five months from the end of July to the end of December only 35 women took it up.
Ms Bennett said she was not troubled by the low uptake.
“It’s going as I’d expected. We’re not promoting it so there hasn’t been significant uptake, but we’re looking at advertising it more so people are aware it’s available.”
It would be good for more people to be ware of it, so there are fewer unwanted pregnancies.