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‘Feed the Kids Bill’ Opportunity to Improve Lives of NZ Kids

UNICEF NZ (UN Children’s Fund)
Media Release
Tuesday January 22, 2013

‘Feed the Kids Bill’ Opportunity to Improve Lives of NZ Kids

UNICEF NZ (UN Children’s Fund) is pleased that a start can be made in improving the health and education of children living in poverty, with the Food in Schools Amendment Bill to be introduced to Parliament on Weds 13 February, 2013.

The Bill aims to establish programmes to provide breakfast and lunch in all decile one and two schools, as one means to improve educational outcomes.

Barbara Lambourn, National Advocacy Manager at UNICEF NZ, said, “We know that teachers see children at school who are really suffering from hunger, and that is not acceptable in a well-resourced nation like ours. This was recognised by the Experts Advisory Group, which included feeding our children as a key recommendation of its report on solutions to child poverty presented to the Government late last year.

“UNICEF NZ operates under the mandate of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that all children have the right to nutritious food. Whilst children in low decile schools are obviously the priority, we note that nutritious food in schools is a normalised situation in many developed countries,” Ms Lambourn said.

“We believe that the government could work towards a food programme available to all public schools on an “opt-in” basis. For children living in poverty this initiative could well be a life saver but it is also a practical support to families and to busy working parents. It would also be a strong signal to society at large that healthy nutrition is a primary wellbeing factor and of is of utmost importance to assist all children to thrive and learn.

“We call on MP’s from every party to support this Bill and to show commitment to the best interests of every child. We all reap the benefit of better educational and health outcomes for our children. This Bill is an opportunity to demonstrate that we really value children and want the best possible start in life for each and every one of them,” said Ms Lambourn.


ENDS

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