Few women take up free contraception scheme

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says she is standing by a million dollar scheme to provide free long-term contraception to women on a benefit, even if it isn't popular.

New figures show just 35 women have taken up the contraceptive offer since the initiative, announced in last year's Budget, was introduced in October.

The Government set aside $1 million over next four years to subsidise medical appointments to arrange long-term contraception such as as implants or intra-uterine devices (IUDs) for women on a benefit and their teenage daughters.

The ministry expected 10,000 women to participate over the four years

Ms Bennett told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme the Government is not actively promoting the scheme.

"This is just a service available for those that are on benefits that can't afford the options of contraception."

Ms Bennett said she though about 200 women might have taken up the scheme and was a little surprised it was lower, but she has no target in mind.

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