Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


CPAG Thrilled Healthy Lunches Stay, But Asks Why So Many Are Going Hungry

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has applauded the government for retaining school lunches to children in our poorest communities, and urges further action to address increasing food insecurity.

One in five children in New Zealand live in homes where food runs out.

That number is higher, around 40 percent or two in five, for children who are disabled, Māori and Pacific Island and those living in geographically deprived areas.

CPAG says the announcement by Act leader David Seymour today around healthy school lunches marks an important acknowledgement that ensuring tamariki have access to good food is a government responsibility.

However, CPAG nutrition spokesperson Emeritus Professor Elaine Rush, said that Mr Seymour's use of the word "extravagant" when describing the current model was unhelpful, especially when for many of the children receiving a lunch it will be the only meal they get all day.

"It is unhelpful for Mr Seymour to describe healthy food as an extravagance, when this should be the benchmark we are striving for for all of our children."

Emeritus Prof Rush said that while the bulk-buying food model sounded good fiscally, she warned that some important aspects of the current programme could be lost including the variety/diversity of whole foods necessary to provide adequate nutrition.

"The strength of communities self catering ticks all sorts of other equity boxes rather than a bulk provider who imposes," she said.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

"Every day of a child's life is important and we know the current model has been successful. It is up to the government to ensure that success continues."

CPAG had concerns about the black and white approach to offer a different model for students year 7 and up, which could overcomplicate supply for full primary schools that taught children from year 0-8.

There were also questions around High Schools, such as Manurewa High School, that used its kitchen to deliver lunches to local primary and intermediate schools. Mr Seymour’s announcement left questions about what the programme looked like for these schools.

Mr Seymour mentioned that too many ministries were involved with different food in schools programmes and CPAG said this was typical of the problems with food supply in New Zealand, and urged him to urgently develop a cohesive national food and nutrition strategy to ensure better access to healthy kai for everyone.

"We do not want charities picking up the pieces. We need to address why so many children live in homes where food runs out. A national food strategy is urgently needed," Emeritus Prof Rush said.

CPAG welcome the news that some early childhood centres would be giving lunches to tamariki.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines




InfoPages News Channels


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.