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Feed the Kids Bill deserves Select Committee scrutiny


Media release from Every Child Counts

Feed the Kids Bill deserves Select Committee scrutiny


“Children have told us that hunger is the most important issue associated with poverty. They also said that food in schools is a strategy most likely to be successful in alleviating poverty [1]. It will not only reduce hunger and improve the health of children; it is likely to increase school attendance and achievement. This makes food in schools a worthwhile investment to counter the impacts of child poverty,” said Deborah Morris-Travers, Manager of Every Child Counts.

Every Child Counts (ECC)* supports the Education (Breakfast and Lunch in Schools) Amendment Bill sponsored by Hone Harawaira MP and is urging Members of Parliament from all parties to support the Bill to Select Committee at its first reading in February.

“The Bill before Parliament would provide for a food in schools programme, in all Decile 1 and 2 schools, that allows local communities to tailor the programme to meet the specific needs of their children.

“Providing food in Decile 1-4 schools was a recommendation made by the Experts Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty, released in December 2012.

“Government, businesses, schools and their communities working together to provide healthy food in schools would make it clear that our society cares for its children. It would demonstrate in a practical way that our children are central to our thinking about the future.

Food in schools could be delivered by paid staff and volunteers without burdening teachers with additional responsibilities.

“The programme will need to be evaluated for its impact but we are confident that a range of positive outcomes will emerge from such a policy.

“It is a measure that deserves support from all political parties. We hope to see the Bill referred to Select Committee for further debate about the benefits of such a programme and to ensure the public have a say on this policy,” concludes Ms Morris-Travers.


*Every Child Counts is a coalition of organisations and individuals working to improve the status and wellbeing of NZ children, driven by Barnardos, Plunket, UNICEF, Save the Children, and Ririki.
www.everychildcounts.org.nz


________________________________________

[1] Save the Children, Hear our Voices Values Exchange (2012)

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