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

 

Gordon Campbell: On Bank Scandals (And Air Crashes)

Last month, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) filed proceedings against Westpac over activities that have some distinct echoes of the Libor scandal. More>>

Budget: Health Funding Must Keep Up With Need

NZNO: “The nursing team has been doing more with less for years. It’s getting to the point that we’re really worried about our colleagues, our patients, our jobs and the level of health care available for people in our country." More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Inventory: Time For The Government To Do The Right Thing

It’s time for the National Government to step up and do the right thing to reduce climate pollution as data shows New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Budget 2016: More Partnership Schools To Open

Seven new schools will join the eight Partnership Schools already open, along with further new schools opening in 2017. “The growth of this policy is a reflection of the high level of interest from educators and community leaders,” Mr Seymour says. More>>

ALSO:

No Correspondence With English: Did Brownlee Make Up Sale Of Navy Ships ‘On The Hoof?’

Having revealed that several Royal New Zealand Navy vessels have not left port in years, New Zealand First is now asking the Minister of Defence to prove he did not come up with the idea of selling HMNZS Taupo and Pukaki until the media asked him. More>>

Housing Plans: Labour- Abolish Auckland Urban Boundary
The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis. More>>
Greens - State House Solution
The Homes Not Cars policy allows Housing New Zealand to retain its dividend and, in addition, would refund its tax, to spend on the emergency building of around 450 new state houses. More>>

ALSO:

Houses And Taxes: Post-Cabinet, Pre-Budget Press Conference

The Prime Minister said that the pre-budget announcements showed that his Government is “investing in a growing economy”. He re-affirmed the National Government’s commitment to lowering personal tax rates but that any such change must fit with the fiscal reality of the time. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news