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Feeding kids a good first step

28 May 2013

Feeding kids a good first step

Today’s food in schools announcement is a victory for people power, and the next step is to tackle the causes of poverty, the Green Party said today.

“I salute all those who have pushed so hard for food in schools to get the Government to finally come to the table and announce this programme in conjunction with Fonterra and Sanitarium,” said Green party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“This shows that when people get together with a joint purpose the community can achieve. We want to congratulate Every Child Counts, Hone Harawira, Campbell Live, KidsCan and all the others whose advocacy led to this decision by the Government.

“The National Government will contribute $9.5 million over five years which is a very small investment in the lives of our poorest children. We believe there is much more that the Government could do that would make a real difference for children.

“The Government spent a long time wringing their hands over what do to for food in schools and their resulting commitment is a pretty modest $1.9 million a year.

“It is great that Fonterra and Sanitarium want to help feed kids, but the Government should not rely on corporate sponsorship as a sustainable solution to child poverty.
“Kids need food in order to be healthy and ready to learn, but they also deserve family incomes that are enough to give them a real shot.

“Paula Bennett made clear that food in schools isn’t a solution in itself and I absolutely agree with her on that, but I don’t agree that the National Government is seriously looking at the causes of child poverty.

“The Children Commissioner has called for a universal child payment and we support that call. Income is the primary driver of poverty and if the government is serious about helping kids it can’t ignore the fact that so many families don’t earn enough to adequately support their kids.

“Breakfast will make a real change to kids’ lives, but we need action on warm dry affordable housing, a living wage, decent jobs and a fair child focused welfare system,” Mrs Turei said.

ENDS

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