Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Hone Harawira: Feed the Kids Bill

Press Release

MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Hone Harawira

General Debate Speech

Feed the Kids Bill

Wednesday 14th November


Mr Speaker, three months ago the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty released their report in which they said “Children living in poverty are those who experience deprivation of the material resources and income required for them to develop and thrive, leaving such children unable to enjoy their rights, achieve their potential and participate as full and equal members of NZ society”.

They then went on to say:
§
> that if we used the poverty measure adopted by other developed countries (families earning less than 60% of median income after housing costs have been deducted) then 25% or 270,000 New Zealand children could for all practical purposes be said to be living in poverty with many experiencing significant material deprivation;
§ >that poverty rates for Māori and PI kids are twice as high as for Pākehā kids;
§ >that Māori and PI kids are twice as likely to be living in severe and persistent poverty;
§ >that child poverty rates in NZ are twice as high as they were 30 years ago.

Mr Speaker, while we may choose to differ in the way in which we measure poverty, I think that if any one of us in this house were to sit back and give full and proper consideration to what the priorities of a good and decent society might be, the wellbeing of children would surely rank at the top … or very close to the top.

And that Mr Speaker, this is where I’d like to think my Education (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Amendment Bill fits, because what it is, is simply a proposal to make sure that kids in our poorest schools get something to eat every day through the provision of fully funded, nutritional breakfasts and lunches in all decile 1 and 2 schools in Aotearoa.

Now I hear that some social commentators like to talk about child poverty as if it were caused by poor parental choice, bad morals and poor work ethic, but there is little hard evidence that poor people mismanage their income any more than those who are better off.

In fact research shows that the main causes of poverty lie elsewhere – the lack of jobs, low income, inadequate, overcrowded and high cost housing, poorly targeted welfare, racism in the labour market, lack of education, poor health, institutional racism in the judicial system etc …

What we do know is that local and international evidence confirms that food-in-schools programmes improve a child’s educational outcomes, school attendance and classroom behaviour.

We know that in 2011, based on analysis of data and experiences of national and international food-in-school initiatives, the Child Poverty Action Group recommended the introduction of healthy meals in all decile 1 and 2 schools in Aotearoa.

We know that in 2012, the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty called on government to provide a national strategy for food in Early Childhood Education centres and schools in low-decile neighbourhoods.

And we know that the high number of decile 1 and 2 schools providing food to students is clear evidence of a pressing need for food to be made available on a sustained and secure basis and that food-in-schools programmes should not have to rely solely on charity and volunteers because depending on charity, particularly in difficult economic times, is risky and uncertain, as the termination of the Red Cross programme shows.

Mr Speaker I applaud the efforts of all those schools, businesses, charities and health promotion agencies for their support of food-in-schools as a positive, practical and simple step to helping to eliminate poverty.

I am grateful for the broad support that I have received since putting the bill in the ballot back in August, I welcome the indications of support from other parties in the house for such an initiative, I thank Campbell Live for the excellent series they did on food-in-schools, and I look forward to working with my colleagues across the House to make this bill a reality when it finally comes to parliament.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Urgent Bill Planned:
MP Pay Rises To Match Public Service

Prime Minister John Key today announced an overhaul of the Remuneration Authority Act, tying MP salaries to those of the wider public sector, which will be passed under urgency.

Mr Key says the decision was made after the Remuneration Authority’s latest determination which saw the total remuneration received by MPs increased by about 3.5 per cent...

The new legislation will be backdated to 1 July 2014, meaning the pay increase outlined in the latest determination will not be awarded. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

PM's Press Conference: MP Pay Rises, Solid Energy, Iraq

Prime Minister John Key answered questions in his Post-Cabinet press conference about the Iraq deployment, Solid Energy and National’s decision to overhaul the Remuneration Authority Act. More>>

ALSO:

Worksafe: MSD Charged Over Work And Income Ashburton Shooting

WorkSafe NZ has laid one charge against the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in relation to the shooting at the MSD Ashburton office on 1 September 2014 in which two Work and Income staff were killed and another was injured. More>>

ALSO:

Iraq: Ex-Hostage Says Government Not Putting NZers, Iraqis First

Harmeet Singh Sooden is travelling to Iraq in the coming weeks to work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on a short-term assignment. More>>

ALSO:

Joint Statement: Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting

Prime Minister Key warmly welcomed Prime Minister Abbott and Mrs Abbott to New Zealand. The visit has enabled wide-ranging and substantive discussion that has underlined the strength, value, diversity and warmth of our trans-Tasman relationship. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: Peters To Stand In Northland By-Election

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has announced his intention to stand in the Northland by-election, citing his own links to the electorate and ongoing neglect of the region by central government. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Wage Hike For MPs (and Paul Robeson)

Hard to tell what is more infuriating. Is it the 5.3% increase on the already bloated salaries of MPs, or their pantomime of outrage at being gifted with such a wonderful back-dated bonanza? More>>

ALSO:

No Designers Or Visual Artists: Flag Panel Members Announced

The Government has appointed 12 New Zealanders as members of the Flag Consideration Panel which will engage with the public about a possible new New Zealand flag, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour MP Stands Down From Portfolio: Comment From Carmel Sepuloni

The first I knew of my mother’s charges was when I was called by a reporter yesterday. I spoke to Andrew and we agreed there is a conflict of interest at the present time which means I will temporarily stand aside from the Social Development portfolio. It’s the right thing to do… . More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news