PM urged to support Feed the Kids Bill

The Green Party has written to Prime Minister John Key urging him to vote for the Feed the Kids Bill if it comes before Parliament tomorrow, to allow MPs to debate how best to feed hungry children at school.

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei adopted the Education (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Amendment Bill from Mana’s Hone Harawira and it may come before the House in a members’ day tomorrow. The Bill is close to the end of its first reading and MPs may get the opportunity to vote whether to send it to a select committee if it comes up.

“We all know that children are going to school hungry and unable to learn. My Bill is an opportunity for MPs to put aside our political differences to work with the experts on the best solution for feeding those children,” Mrs Turei said.

“By sending it to select committee MPs will get to hear from parents, kids, teachers, and public health experts and use that input to come up with the best plan for hungry kids.

“John Key has said he’s concerned about addressing child poverty this term, and this Bill is a real opportunity to have a cross-Parliament discussion on ways to really make a difference.

“The Bill spells out one way to deliver school food, by feeding all children in decile 1 and 2 schools breakfast and lunch, but there are many other possible solutions to reach all hungry kids.

“I strongly urge John Key to agree to send this Bill to select committee where all political parties can hear from the experts about what is needed and how we can meet that need.

“The Green Party believes broader solutions to school food are needed than the existing breakfast programme provided in some schools. Teachers often cite examples of kids not having lunch at school and parents keeping kids at home if they’ve run out of money to pack their lunchbox.

“John Key has expressed concern that a lunch programme would absolve parents of the obligation to feed their children. The Green Party believes that is outweighed by the state’s obligation to ensure children do not go hungry at school, and all children have equal access to the opportunities that a good education provides,” Mrs Turei said.