National looking at improving access to long-term contraception, Nicola Willis says

After the National Party confirmed it would reinstate prescription fees for most people needing contraception, the Labour Party had an almighty pile on.

Some even compared their stance to the fictional The Handmaid's Tale, which has been slammed by National as gutter politics.

The fictional republic of Gilead with its handmaids is not a nice place for women. It is hardly Aotearoa.

But that didn't stop Labour's campaign chair Megan Woods from comparing the two in a tweet.

National's deputy leader Nicola Willis wasn't happy.

"This is about a Government that has got down into the gutter and is getting into completely ridiculous, baseless attacks," Willis said. 

The Handmaid's hyperbole kicked off when Labour announced it would make all prescriptions free from next month.

But National said it would reinstate the $5 fee if elected and include a carve-out for retirees and low-income Kiwis. Not for most people needing contraception though, they'd have to pay as they now do.

"National thinks that the current entitlements women currently have to contraceptives are really important and we are not proposing to changing them in any way," said Willis. 

And boy oh boy did Labour pile on

"The 1950s called and they want their National Party back," said Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.

Not only did Woods tweet a gif from The Handmaid's Tale in response, but two attack ads were launched against the Nats.

"No attacking," Labour minister Kiri Allan said. "It's just good for New Zealanders to see what's going on in this little place here in election year."

A Labour email begging for donations went out claiming National would increase fees for people who need contraception.

"This is a complete smear campaign from the Labour Party," said National leader Christopher Luxon. 

In fact the Nats say they're actually looking at improving access to long-term contraception like IUDs and injections.

Woods denies she went too far. 

Amelia Wade Analysis

Luxon should have been prepared for this contraception landmine laid by Labour in the Budget. 

They see Luxon's stance on abortion as a weakness with women so they leapt at the chance for another reproductive rights crack. 

But their hyperbole is an own goal. If Labour's Handmaid outrage is to be believed, why's it taken them six years to remove the prescription fee?