Feed the Kids

Posted on December 11, 2012 by admin in Feed the Kids, Hone Harawira

“Over the past two days I have been inundated with support for my private member’s bill to provide free breakfasts and lunches to all decile 1 and 2 schools in the country” says MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Hone Harawira.

The Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty Report released today stated:

· They recommend the development and implementation of a government-funded food in schools programme for decile 1 to 4 schools. MANA would support an amendment at the select committee to include all decile 3 and 4 schools.

· There was very strong support for food in schools from over 1800 individuals and groups that were consulted for the report.

· Hunger and food in schools was raised as THE priority issue by the 300 children and young people who were consulted.

MANA has written to all 500 decile 1 and 2 schools throughout the country regarding the “Feed the Kids” bill. Not ONE school opposed the initiative. The main reservation schools had about the scheme was the time it would require to implement and the subsequent strain on resources. When assured that each school would be properly resourced to see the initiative carried out, all schools expressed their unreserved support. Principals and Boards of Trustees expressed a keen desire to petition their local MP and to present their thoughts at select committee.

Responses included:

· “It’s awesome that the programme is being extended to college age children as I see hungry teens every day. I’m shouting kids when I can and I’m not the only teacher who does this. Kids can’t learn if they’re not fed”.

· “If this initiative gains the support it deserves and makes it all the way, I would be more than happy to be part of a trial”.

Yesterday the New Zealand Children’s Social Health Monitor 2012 Update was released. The report endorsed the need to support the “Feed the Kids” bill and made clear:

· One in five children remain reliant on a benefit as their main source of family income.

· Unemployment has risen over the year and the rates are three times higher for Maori and Pacific Islanders than for Pakeha.

· The time spent unemployed is becoming longer.

· Poverty related child health indicators continue to rise and are much higher for Maori and Pacific Island children than Pakeha.

“All the research points to one fact; that there is a high need and an even higher wish amongst the public to see politicians cross the political divide to support the “Feed the Kids” bill” says Harawira.

“People know this is a no-brainer. We need to protect our most vulnerable in society and enable them to have the best start in life we can provide them. If we do not, then it will be to our eternal shame”.

“I would love to see politicians come out and say that they will support the bill through the first reading so that we can have a mature debate at the select committee stage”.

“There would be no better Christmas present than to tell our kids who are suffering that we will provide them with two of the three meals they need a day. Maybe then we will start to see improved educational results that in the long run will lead to a more productive society”.

The first reading of the “Feed the Kids” Bill is scheduled for February the 14th 2013.


For more information please contact Malcolm Mulholland on 027 765 6380.