Govt must reverse its position on junk food in schools

The Green Party is calling on the Government to listen to the overwhelming number of Kiwi parents who want junk food banned from schools, instead of protecting the rights of food corporations which sell junk food to our children.

A survey released today shows that 80 per cent of those polled were in favour of the Government requiring all schools to implement a health food policy, as well as restricting the use of junk food and fizzy drinks as fundraisers.

“One of the first – and one of the worst – things this National Government did was to scrap the guidelines around the sale of junk food in school tuck shops. This survey shows what an absolute failure that policy is,” said Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague.

“We know that allowing multi-national junk food corporations to sell sugary and fatty food to our kids is contributing to more Kiwi children becoming overweight.

“In 2006/2007, before National came into Government, the obesity rate among Kiwi kids aged 2 to 14 was 8.4%; by 2013 that had jumped to more than 10%

“We are getting fatter and unhealthier as a nation, and instead of taking meaningful action to prevent that, this Government has chosen to do the exact opposite.

“This is the worst kind of public-health policy making, and will cost people their lives and the health system billions of dollars well into the future.

“New Zealanders want more regulation in this area, not less, which puts the Government seriously out of step with Kiwi parents. 

“The Green Party has long advocated for the regulation of the sale of junk food in schools and the promotion of healthy, Kiwi-grown produce and food.

“Schools can play an important part in reducing the obesity epidemic in New Zealand and its associated costs but the Government has to play its part too, which it currently isn’t,” said Mr Hague.

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