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Funding boosts to help vulnerable children - PM

28 May 2013

Media Statement

Funding boosts to help vulnerable children - PM

Prime Minister John Key today announced Government funding to expand Fonterra and Sanitarium’s KickStart Breakfast programme, and a grant to KidsCan to boost a variety of the charity’s initiatives.

“By teaming up with Fonterra and Sanitarium, and deepening our support for KidsCan, we are building on the existing strengths of these organisations, while keeping the costs to taxpayers down,” says Mr Key.

“The most enduring solutions to help vulnerable children and families happen when communities are stepping up – not just government.”

Mr Key says the expanded KickStart Breakfast programme will increase from two to five mornings a week in decile one to four schools, with a view to gradually rolling the programme out to all those schools wanting and needing the programme.

“This is a simple breakfast, and one generations of New Zealanders have grown up on – Weet-Bix and milk.

“The Government is putting up 50 per cent of the costs, with the other half being matched in value by Fonterra and Sanitarium. These organisations will continue to distribute the breakfasts to schools.

“The total cost to the Government is up to $9.5 million over five years. Both the Government, and Fonterra and Sanitarium, have made an initial five-year commitment to this expanded programme,” says Mr Key.

“I’d like to make one thing clear – the Government believes parents have the primary responsibility for providing their kids with the basics, including a decent breakfast and a pair of shoes.

“But the fact remains that some children are going to school hungry and therefore not in good shape to learn.”

Mr Key says the grant to KidsCan - $1.5 million over three years - will be targeted to its clothing and healthcare programmes.

“This Government has a positive and long-standing relationship with KidsCan, and we are pleased to be extending this partnership. Since 2009, we have made grants to KidsCan to support its work, alongside the philanthropic funding it receives.

“The grant from the Government will go towards shoes, raincoats, lice treatment and other basic, essential healthcare needs. KidsCan already has the networks to reach vulnerable children and families, and the funding boost will help KidsCan continue its great work,” says Mr Key.

“We want to strike a balance between looking after the kids in genuine need, against creating dependency.

“I believe the Government’s funding initiatives for KickStart Breakfast and KidsCan strike that balance,” says Mr Key.

“Both of these funding agreements harness the energy of Government, the corporate sector and the community. We see that as the best way forward to help vulnerable families.”

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