Stop debating and feed the kids, says Shearer

NZ Herald 10 Sep 2012
Labour’s new education policy includes $40 million in pledges to feed all children in low-decile schools and to extend a reading recovery programme to cover all schools.

Party leader David Shearer outlined the policies in a keynote speech in which he targeted stomachs and minds but stayed silent on whether he would scrap National Standards.

He said the 211 schools on KidsCan’s Food for Schools programme showed children were still going to school hungry – and Labour would work with community groups to provide free food to all 650 decile 1-3 primary and intermediate schools.

“I hear people argue that this is the responsibility of parents,” he said. “We can debate that endlessly, but it won’t change this reality: tomorrow morning kids will still turn up to school hungry.”

The meal-a-day proposal was championed in a recent Child Poverty Action Group report. About 40,000 children are already fed at schools by charities, but a Ministry of Health survey estimated at least twice that go to school with no food.