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Backtrack On School Lunches A Win For Kiwi Kids

David Seymour has failed to get the sweeping cuts he wanted to the free and healthy school lunch programme, Labour education spokesperson Jan Tinetti said.

“Labour has been calling for the Government to commit to fully funding the school lunch programme and I am relieved to see David Seymour hasn’t got the cuts to the programme he campaigned on,” Jan Tinetti said.

“There will be no change to the programme in years 0-6, and schools will still be able to deliver the programme in a way that works for them. That’s a win today for the tens of thousands of people who have campaigned to keep school lunches.

“Principals, teachers and parents have all seen the benefits of kids getting a free and healthy school lunch. Kids learn better when their tummies are full.

“It is concerning however that the lessons we’ve learned about delivery, minimising waste and choosing foods that kids will eat is being thrown out the window for years 7 and up.

“What we learnt from the current programme is when schools moved away from the model the Government is now mandating in secondary schools, waste reduced dramatically.

“The opt-out model also concerns me, as we know it will create stigma in school that sees the very kids who need the lunches choosing not to have them. Schools will also have to have to keep track of which kids are opting-out each day, otherwise they will end up with even more waste.

“It’s also ironic that this funding is time-limited, given the Government’s current aversion to that. If they matched their own rhetoric they’d have funded it from baseline today.

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“This is a backtrack from the Minister, and a win for Kiwi kids. Ensuring children and young people are fed and healthy is one of the best things we can do to help them turn up to school, learn and grow. I welcome Government funding food in ECEs and am relieved that for all of David Seymour’s talk he hasn’t got his cuts over the line in primary schools.

“I am worried about the changes at intermediate and secondary schools and will continue to campaign for keeping and improving the programme,” Jan Tinetti said.

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