An HIV support group has urged MPs to subsidise condoms for women in the same way it does for men's condoms.
Lobby group Positive Women has presented a petition to a Parliamentary select committee, asking that female condoms be as available and affordable as the male condom.
Positive Women national co-ordinator Jane Bruning said only one brand of female condom was sold in New Zealand, at a cost of $5 each.
But Ms Bruning said it was the only way women could guard against sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.
"We feel strongly that women should have a choice, that they can use that they don't have to negotiate safe sex with a male."
The female condom gave women control over their own health and wellbeing, and that was important for empowering women, she said.