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UNICEF NZ - Food in Schools a Step in the Right Direction

UNICEF NZ (UN Children’s Fund)

Media release

Tuesday 28 May, 2013

UNICEF NZ - Food in Schools a Step in the Right Direction

UNICEF NZ is pleased that the Government will deal with the crisis of hunger among some of our most vulnerable children by providing food in schools, but hopes that the move signals a wider commitment to investing in children in their early years.

Barbara Lambourn, National Advocacy Manager at UNICEF NZ said, "It's a big step in the right direction and will be welcomed by teachers, medical professionals, community workers, parents and children's advocates....and, of course, by children themselves.

"We hope that it's the beginning of a greater Government commitment to invest in our kids at an early stage, so they can reach their full potential. There is a wealth of research which backs up this approach and it is a model which creates good outcomes for children in many other countries. Although up to $9.5m has been dedicated today, this will be offset by the potential to save many more millions in health and social welfare budgets over time.

“The announcement today of the food in schools programme is a signal that New Zealand cares about our children and supports their right to good health. We know that when children are distracted by hunger the problems compound – this is an important investment which will lead to better educational outcomes for many children.

"However, the programme needs to be sustainable, to expand and deliver a range of long-term benefits for children. This means ensuring our kids learn about and appreciate healthy eating options, appreciate community and business connections involved with the programme, and enjoy the social advantages of eating and sharing kai together.

"We are pleased that the Government has listened to Kiwis who have said poverty is not acceptable in this country. We do very well for our older people and it’s time to start taking the same dedicated approach to our youngest citizens.

“Food in schools is a good foundation to build a sustainable, and perhaps universal, programme to support children and families for the long term and that's what we need for a healthy and productive future as a nation".

-Ends-

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