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Free condoms to be commended, not condemned

Free condoms to be commended, not condemned

Green MP Nandor Tanczos congratulated student organisers of Edgewater College's school ball today for offering a free condom with each ticket and called on other school ball organisers to show a similar commitment to keeping young people safe.

Nandor, the Green Party's Youth Affairs spokesperson, said he was disappointed that moral indignation has forced Edgewater College into a 'condom recall', saying that New Zealand had to take practical steps to reduce its unacceptably high teenage pregnancy rate.

"It's sad that New Zealand teenagers still have to deal with a head-in-the-sand attitude," said Nandor. "Some people seem to think that the best way to avoid teenage pregnancy is simply not to talk about it.

"Supplying condoms at a school ball isn't an invitation for them to all have sex - some teenagers need no encouragement anyway. It was simply a creative idea to help students avoid an unplanned pregnancy or STD that could affect them for the rest of their lives.

"Let's remember that the handouts also included advice on saying no to sex.

"New Zealand's teen pregnancy rate is ranked third out of 119 industrial nations, showing a willingness for young people to have sex even without contraception.

"Good on Edgewater's students for taking a sensible approach to this problem, given that we all know that many young people do have sex, including on the night of their school ball.

"Edgewater's student-run Peer Sexuality Support Team has a much better handle on the situation than the adults, who seem to have forgotten what they themselves were doing when they were teenagers," he said.

"Headmaster Allan Vester has nothing to apologise for - in fact, he should be commended for supporting young people taking practical steps to confront an issue that affects them.

"I hope other schools support their students in making their school ball experience is as safe and enjoyable as possible," said Nandor.

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