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Crumbs For the 270,000 Living Below the Poverty Line

Crumbs For the 270,000 Living Below the Poverty Line

MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Hone Harawira

Tuesday 28 May 2013

“Government had the opportunity to do something today about seriously reducing poverty” said Hone Harawira, Leader of MANA and MP for Te Tai Tokerau “and they choked.”

In 2012 the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty released a report showing that 270,000 children in New Zealand were living below the poverty line and recommended a comprehensive government-funded food in schools programme for low-decile schools.

“And the Prime Minister’s solution?” asked Harawira “A 5 year commitment of less than $2 million a year.”

The Prime Minister said the KickStart breakfast programme would be extended from 2 to 5 days a week. “But only half of all decile 1-4 schools are on KickStart, and only some children at those schools are part of it” said Harawira.

“Tens of thousands of kids in genuine poverty are going to miss out … and the Maori Party dares to call today’s announcement a victory.”

“A victory for who? Certainly not the 270,000 hungry children we have in New Zealand” said Harawira.

“The National Party / Maori Party Government’s achievements to date read like a horror story for the poor.  They’ve spent $1.6 billion bailing out their mates at South Canterbury Finance (neat alright Maori Party).  They’re planning to slash $1 billion a year off benefits to poor people (congratulations Maori Party).  And now they’re giving less than $2million a year to feed hungry kids.”

Harawira said that instead of hailing today’s announcement as a victory, the Maori Party should be hanging their heads in shame. “They’re claiming victory when in fact today’s announcement is nothing but a kick in the guts for all kids suffering from unnecessary poverty.”

Harawira said that his Feed the Kids Bill would not leave any child out.  “My bill would ensure that every child at every decile 1-2 school would get breakfast and lunch.”

“And my bill makes the well-being of all children the responsibility of Government, not something left to the charity of businesses.”

“Yesterday’s poll was clear - 70% of all New Zealanders want the government to fund food in schools, not public-private partnerships. This is not Transmission Gully. This is our future, our kids we’re talking about here.  They deserve better and it’s our job to give it to them.”

“I urge everyone to push their MPs to allow my Feed the Kids Bill to go to select committee. Let’s hear from teachers, parents, doctors, children, nurses, child support agencies about how best to feed our kids properly and to eliminate the ugly stain of unnecessary poverty.”

“Clearly this fight still has a long way to go.”


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