Labour has finally said it would continue free school lunches - and the Green Party is calling on every party to step up.
“Aotearoa can be a place where no child ever goes hungry, but to make that happen we will need to be a lot bolder. This election we have a chance to elect a government with the courage to unlock the money we need to make sure every child has a full puku,” says Green Party co leader Marama Davidson.
“The Green Party is pleased, and very relieved that Labour has finally committed to what it should have committed to months ago and said it will continue free school lunches.
“Only three days ago, I visited an Auckland school to see the difference free lunches are making to kids’ lives.
“It filled my heart with aroha to know those kids would be able to focus on their learning with a full belly. For some of those kids, it would be the only decent meal they get all day.
“I could not work out why Labour had made the call earlier this year not to extend funding for the programme. The anxiety felt by principals and students I’ve spoken to about the possibility of the programme not continuing is heart breaking.
“So the Green Party stepped in and promised not only to continue the existing school lunch programme but to expand it to reach another 135,000 tamariki.
“Right now, thousands of children across Aotearoa are going hungry. Families are struggling to cover the basics and far too many parents are forced to skip meals so their children can get something to eat.
“It’s a shame that instead of being confirmed as part of the government’s normal budget spending, the future of free school lunches has been put in doubt.
“Over the next 22 days, you will hear a very clear message from the Green Party: if you want a government that will tax the wealthiest few to make sure no child ever goes hungry, then that’s a vote for the Greens.
“Only the Green Party will put community wellbeing at the heart of education.
“Alongside our Income Guarantee, our planned expansion of free school lunches will support families with the rising cost of living and ensure that no matter what happens, tamariki can get a good lunch at school,” says Marama Davidson.