Contraception important for New Zealanders

  • Hon Julie Anne Genter

Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter says today’s release of sexual and reproductive health data reinforces the significance of the Government’s commitment to providing free or very low-cost contraception.

The Ministry of Health today published statistics from the Ministry of Health’s 2014/15 Health Survey.

“It is important people can make choices for themselves about contraceptive, and what works for them and their family,” Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter says.

“This survey tells us three-quarters of sexually active women aged between 16 and 49 used contraception. The data also tells us that younger women are more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy than older women.

“This reinforces the significance of this year’s funding announcement of $6 million dollars focused on long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs).  

“Also very recently, PHARMAC announced that from November it would be widening funded access to Mirena, as well as listing a new long-acting reversible contraceptive option, Jaydess, which will benefit around 21,000 New Zealand women.

“We know that for many women, price is a significant barrier to accessing contraception. The data released today tells us just how important access to effective and affordable contraception is.

“The survey tells us that women who used contraception and had had heterosexual sex in the past 4 weeks were most likely to source their contraception from a medical centre or GP (42%), followed by retail (eg pharmacy) (20%) and Family Planning Clinic (11%).

“Improving access to effective contraceptives makes it much easier for women to manage their fertility and reduce unintended pregnancies.

“I want to thank everyone who participated in the survey and contributed by telling us about their experience,” Julie Anne Genter said.

Other significant takeouts from the Survey include:

  • One in seven pregnancies occurring in the five years before the 2014/15 Health Survey were unplanned, about a third were ambivalent, and over half were planned.  
  • A higher percentage of 16–24-year-old women’s recent pregnancies were unplanned, 30%, than women aged 25–34 years, 12%, or than women aged 35–44 years, 9%.  
  • The most common contraceptive methods used by sexually active women were the male condom (26 percent), the pill (24 percent) and their partner’s vasectomy (10 percent)
  • 13 percent of sexually active women aged 16–49 used some form of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), a group comprising implants, intrauterine devices (IUDs) and intrauterine systems (IUSs).

The results are based on self-completion interviews with more than 10,000 respondents aged 16–74 years.