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Food In Schools A Band-Aid That Won’t Fix The Real Problem

Food In Schools A Band-Aid That Won’t Fix The Real Problem
Press Release by ACT Leader John Banks
Tuesday, May 28 2013

No one wants kids to go to school hungry, but ACT is opposed to National’s food in schools initiative as we believe parents are responsible for ensuring their children are well-fed, clothed and cared for, ACT Leader John Banks said today.

“Providing food in schools is a band-aid that hides the real problem,” Mr Banks said.

“The Government already spends 16.2 billion on welfare, with additional financial support for low-income families and beneficiaries with children.

“Rather than create a new welfare scheme, we should be looking at why kids are going to school hungry. We should then look closely at the assistance already in place.

“What we shouldn’t do is shift responsibility away from parents to government. This will only have negative and unintended consequences, and evidence has shown that food in school programmes are not effective.”

An Auckland University study of 14 low-socio economic schools which receive free school breakfasts for students from private sector or charitable groups found:

‘A free school breakfast did not have a significant effect on New Zealand children's school attendance, academic achievement, self-reported grades, sense of belonging at school, behaviour or food security.”’

University of Canterbury economics lecturer, Eric Crampton, found that providing breakfast in schools ‘has not increased the likelihood of kids eating breakfast at all’ and that ‘many kids shifted from eating breakfast at home earlier in the morning to eating at school later in the morning.’

“It doesn’t make sense for the Government to throw more money into new welfare schemes that do not work,” Mr Banks said.

“No one wants a child to go hungry. It should be parents, not teachers and government, who provide meals for their children.


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