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National prioritises private school sports over food

David
Shearer
Labour Leader

11 September 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

National prioritises private school sports over food for kids

National would rather spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on sports funding for private schools than support community agencies providing free food in low decile public schools, says Labour Leader David Shearer.

“National’s priorities for education are all wrong. They’re spending about $562,000 on sports funding for private schools but only $317,000 supporting organisations providing food to hungry children in low decile schools.

“In contrast, Labour is committed to giving all of our children the best start in life. We have pledged to work with community groups to provide free food in every decile 1-3 primary and intermediate school that needs and wants it.

““National is floundering on this issue. We saw that when Bill English tried to have it both ways today.
“First, he admitted there was a problem and claimed the Government was providing financial support. Then he argued National wasn’t going to get stuck in and deal with the issue because it’s not the Government’s fault.

“Which is it? Does National accept there is a problem and that it needs to deal with it? Or is it the case that because it’s supposedly the fault of some parents, children should just go hungry?

“Of course, parents are responsible for looking after their kids. But it won’t change the reality that some children are turning up to school hungry. Their learning is affected and they’re distracting other children. That’s not good enough.

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“The Government’s own figures show that more than 80,000 children are going to school without breakfast. More than 200 schools are on the waiting list for help from KidsCan.

“We need to take action to ensure all Kiwi families earn a decent wage and can support their children. But in the meantime, we can’t sit on the side-lines and hope this problem goes away,” said David Shearer.

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