New Zealand Labour Party

Kids the losers in lunchbox politics

Sadly it looks like National won’t support successful and proven school programmes shown to reduce obesity and ensure all our kids are well-nourished at school, Labour MP David Shearer says.

“I had hoped that my private members’ bill would be supported through first reading to a select committee process where a wide, non-political discussion could be held on how to support schools rolling out food in schools programmes.

“While the original bill focused on feeding programmes as being the answer to our problem of empty lunchboxes, I have since had my eyes opened by schools that are teaching community self-reliance and arming children with skills for a lifetime instead of just a meal.

“Some outstanding schools I have visited run vegetable and garden programmes, involve the community in ensuring parents provide kids with lunch, and have lowered rates of obesity, dental and other health problems associated with poor nutrition.

“These schools getting it right are found in some of the poorest areas of the country. They have rejected feeding programmes in favour of long-term sustainable change.

“It’s important that we learn from these schools and discuss how we can widen the number of schools that are working in this way.

“Sadly this won’t happen. Despite widespread support in Parliament, the National Government believes it already has the answers.

“It should look at our woeful rising obesity numbers, dental problems and increasing numbers of kids coming to school hungry.

“New Zealand has the third-highest obesity rate in the world, children are going to school hungry, and the long-term consequences of both are costing taxpayers dearly.

“Surely this is one time where we can put politics aside and genuinely focus on what’s best for our kids,” David Shearer said.