Shearer gets it – partially

January 23rd, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

writes in the Herald:

My research took me to a wonderful school, Owairaka District School, where 8-year-old students served me a lunch of vegetarian pizza from their own pizza oven, salad from their garden, and muffins made with eggs from their chickens and honey from their hives.

Owairaka is a decile 2 school but the children are kept nourished and learning through this innovative garden-to-table programme.

But more critically, they are picking up the lifetime skills of gardening and food preparation – and they are doing it alongside family and community volunteers who also benefit.

It’s win, win, win – so much better than a hand-out for the kids – and it raised a question I have grappled with since my bill was drawn.

Is it right to impose a one-size-fits-all solution on to every low-decile school in the form of a food hand-out?

No. It is excellent a Labour MP sees this. Better late than never.

My fear is that we will institutionalise dependence through relying solely on a feeding programme. We need to be far more forward-looking.

Yes.

There’s another critical need for a programme focused on nutrition. New Zealand has 275,000 overweight and obese children. Surely part of what we are teaching – in a practical way – should be around nutrition and good foods to eat.

There are two issues here – and kids going to school without breakfast.

The latter is basically due to bad parenting. It costs just 39 cents  a day to give a child weetbix and milk for breakfast. If a kid is going to school without breakfast, it is not because of lack of money. Low income families get an extra $65 per week per child (plus up to $152 a week for the first child) to help cover the costs of a child.

Nutrition is an important issue, and educating kids on nutrition is worthwhile. Educating parents probably more so. But this can take many forms. I know scores of people who use smartphone apps to check nutritional content of food, and make decisions based on it.

Unfortunately, our current Government has done the opposite. In 2009, then Education Minister Anne Tolley removed the national guidelines to schools which stated that only healthy options should be available where food and beverages are sold at schools.

Sigh, now back to being the food police.  Almost no food in moderation is inherently unhealthy. Trying to categorise foods into always good and always bad is simplistic.

My bill originally aimed to legislate for food to be available in every decile 1, 2 and 3 school that wants it, so poorer communities can have confidence their children won’t be hungry at school.

That’s a start, but I’m going back to the drawing board so we can address the issues of nutrition and encourage self-reliance. We have lost the basic skills of how to garden and provide for ourselves.

So my aim is that my Bill will put resources into schools to help teach those simple skills, and enable kids to eat the food they grow themselves and understand a healthy diet.

Sounds an improvement. But to be honest the elephant in the room is the parents. If the parents do not understand nutrition and a healthy diet, then expecting teachers to change the eating habits of kids is a big ask.

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39 Responses to “Shearer gets it – partially”

  1. OneTrack (3,111 comments) says:

    Are pizzas and muffins considered healthy options by the food police?

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  2. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Easy to solve, just make a WoF mandatory to breed, otherwise no taxpayers’ funded benefits of any kind. Why the hell should we continue to subsidise the indulgent lifestyles of those who would sooner breed than feed or work. Just look at the bottle stores and bars on benefit days, it is a bloody disgrace!

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  3. Reid (16,491 comments) says:

    the elephant in the room is the parents.

    They always are. But politicians refuse to call them to account lest they lose their vote.

    But it’s true: If the parents do not understand nutrition and a healthy diet “x”, then expecting teachers to change the eating “x” habits of kids is a big ask.

    And until politicians, of all stripes, are prepared to put those kids above their own electoral hides, nothing will change. Don’t hold your breath.

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  4. Odakyu-sen (676 comments) says:

    “WoF mandatory to breed?”
    Great! An even more powerful, invasive government (all for our own good, mind you…)

    How would you implement such a system? Mandatory implanted sterilization at puberty? Non-refundable non-pregnancy bonds that the rich could put up so that their daughters aren’t included in the system? What about the men? Vasectomies with a combination lock?

    I’m sure this would do wonders for our immigration. (Auckland house prices would crash.)

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  5. PaulP (150 comments) says:

    I see there’s been a related call to ban kids from buying “energy drinks”.

    I guess that means they should also be “banned” from buying chocolate, cakes, takeaways, lollies etc etc. Where do you stop?

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  6. Yogibear (366 comments) says:

    Was the school lunch it BYO fish?

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  7. chris (647 comments) says:

    Sounds an improvement. But to be honest the elephant in the room is the parents. If the parents do not understand nutrition and a healthy diet, then expecting teachers to change the eating habits of kids is a big ask.

    We need to start somewhere. If the parents aren’t going to do it, then let’s start getting the next generation knowing more about food. Getting them to cook it (and take pride in cooking it) is a step in the right direction.

    Good food can be cheap, easy and quick to prepare. If all these kids have is their parents as role models then there’s no hope they’ll be any better than their parents. If we educate them at school about how easy it is to make good food, maybe some of it will rub off.

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  8. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    WHAT!!!

    You simply cannot have people thinking for themselves. Poorer people need the left to do their thinking for them, if they were left to their own devices they might make the wrong choices. Imagine what might happen in that case?

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  9. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    We don’t need a WOF to breed. What we need is a certificate to prove that you can afford the child you are considering brining into the world.

    If you cannot afford it then you can either have the child adopted out or terminate the pregnancy.

    Simply really.

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  10. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    Maybe Shearer should switch to National. He was far too nice for Labour anyway and Mt Albert won’t go blue any other way.

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  11. alex Masterley (1,517 comments) says:

    Ye gods.
    It is not difficult to have weetbix/nutrigrain or similar in the cupboard.
    my lads (6&8) know where they are and if they get up before us help themselves or in the case of the 6 year old he makes himself a peanut butter sandwich.
    We then tidy up the mess.

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  12. RRM (9,932 comments) says:

    What we need is a certificate to prove that you can afford the child you are considering brining into the world.

    If you cannot afford it then you can either have the child adopted out or terminate the pregnancy.

    Simply really.

    :neutral: Sounds like the sort of thing the Chinese communist party would come up with, to be honest.

    What would you do if the mother refuses to terminate the pregnancy? Get heavies to hold her still for the injection?

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  13. hj (7,031 comments) says:

    Ah the vege garden- a thing of the past thanks to the political concensus on population (increase it) combined with an inabilty of our low paid workforce to fund infrastructure.

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  14. hj (7,031 comments) says:

    These are the dangerous ideas Mr Trotter wants Shearer excommunicated for.

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  15. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Most parts of houses that might have supported a garden in the past now have another house on it.

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  16. Monty (978 comments) says:

    Why is legislation needed for schools to be able to grow a few vegetables. Stupid foolish labour.

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  17. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Is it right to impose a one-size-fits-all solution on to every low-decile school in the form of a food hand-out?

    Wow… The guy just failed socialism 101….

    Meanwhile National are ready to make education an election issue – the football is in play people… Lets reorganise it again and again because that’s popular for elections…. fark…

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  18. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    It’s a complex problem; I’d hate to be poor, I suspect it’d really suck and be harder than most of us expect.

    I’m sure we have some shockingly dysfunctional parents in this country, equally I’m sure the vast bulk of poor parents struggle hard in difficult circumstances trying to do their best but sometimes make poor choices. Alcohol, drugs, tobacco, churches and finance companies blight these areas sucking out money.

    When I drive through poor areas I’m always stunned by large empty areas of land, that could be used to be grow food. It requires community action though, and sadly community is a thing from the past.

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  19. MH (762 comments) says:

    With the decline in men teachers in schools and resultant decline in boys playing rugby on once hallowed grounds,then I suppose they may as well turn the playing fields ofShearer’s Eating Eden into pretty furrows or gardens for the girls to play in.How can we develop future Wilson Whinerays when all we have is tiny trowels for boys to muck around with, and vegetarian women teachers screaming at the lads for dragging muddy shoes back into the prissey classrooms. This is a green dumb thumb Party idea. Give me a boy with a mudpie in his hand or give me death.

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  20. Longknives (4,763 comments) says:

    ” served me a lunch of vegetarian pizza”

    Why vegetarian? Is Shearer part of the ‘meat is murder’ mob? or is meat simply banned from our schools these days…

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  21. Simon (727 comments) says:

    Shearer statist piece of shit writing crap for the sheeple. Forward looking what a mong.

    The problem is in decile 1 to 3 schools on average is that the kids move around a lot and do not have settled home lives. Doesnt matter what happens at school. The kids home life is highly unsuitable. The actual welfare system is fucked it is never about education. Unless the welfare system is rolled back the incrediabliy well resoucred primary school system dont matter.

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  22. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    Labour – ideas so good they need to be legislated for to make people implement them. Like governments everywhere really.

    Pretty sure our societal issues aren’t caused by not enough laws.

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  23. nickb (3,687 comments) says:

    Why vegetarian? Is Shearer part of the ‘meat is murder’ mob? or is meat simply banned from our schools these days…

    Not if it’s halal meat Longknives….*

    *citation required

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  24. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    I was taught gardening at primary school. (1951 – 58) It was one of a few specialist ‘Maori schools’ whose curriculum was designed to equip kids from Maori homes to cope with Pakeha secondary school university.

    Bloody successful it was too.

    Until the Labourite socialists came along and decided there must be only one curriculum for all.

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  25. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    Shane Ngatai – Rhodes St Primary in Hamilton gets it. The kids not only learn about and grow and cook food but they feed the community and make a lot of money out of it.

    The school is low decide. Wonderful place.

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  26. hj (7,031 comments) says:

    The left-wing political elite (the mob) have managed to deny us ploicy choice.

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  27. HC (154 comments) says:

    Teaching kids at school basic gardening and food preparation skills, alongside education about healthy diets and lifestyles, is making perfect sense! Where possible schools should establish a small garden plot to have kids participate, learn and apply such skills, and I would say most schools would have the land and so available. Also do most schools have facilities like kitchens or something similar, so having young children taught some basics will equip them well for their own adulthood, plus it will given them an initiative to discuss what they learn and do with their parents at home.

    Children always have a potential to innovative, challenging thinking, and while some parents may be lacking interest or motivation to learn and change their unhealthy lifestyles themselves, there are examples where they did just that, after seeing and hearing how their kids taught them something better, or gave them a reason to think and change ways.

    Having grown up with hard working parents and two siblings, but where my parents only had humble education when they were young (due to reasons beyond their control), I learned a lot at school and later challenged my parents on what they were ignorant of. I am sure many can relate to that. Others learn themselves the hard way, and come to better insights in life, parents or children.

    There is nothing wrong with what Shearer is proposing, and it deserves support.

    As for “free choice”, yeah right, then stop all this anti smoking propaganda, anti gambling propaganda, anti prostitution agendas in certain suburbs in Auckland or Christchurch, stop opposition to liquor outlets near schools and increase the speed limit to 200 km/h, please, if you want to stand on principles!

    I live near two schools, and seeing hordes of kids pass by in the morning, munching on fried potato chips, greasy pies and sweets galore, then disposing of the packaging on the footpath and so, that is a result of “free choice”, I presume.

    Obesity is a sign of poor nutrition, and also of malnutrition, and pies and such stuff are exactly the kinds of food that will see to it, that we will indeed face a diabetes and other health crisis. Maybe some commenters here may do a rethink.

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  28. NK (1,244 comments) says:

    This epitomises Labour as the “yeah, nah” party.

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  29. MH (762 comments) says:

    no men at home no men at school. Result,let’s all go gardening. Nextminit Generation cabbage patch-up kids.

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  30. chris (647 comments) says:

    my lads (6&8) know where they are and if they get up before us help themselves or in the case of the 6 year old he makes himself a peanut butter sandwich.

    If we haven’t got up, my 4 year old will get a bowl, fill it with rice bubbles, fruit and milk and eat it himself. The 9 year old is also capable of doing this but is a lot lazier…

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  31. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    Why vegetarian? Is Shearer part of the ‘meat is murder’ mob? or is meat simply banned from our schools these days…

    Because you’d need resource consent to graze sheep, pigs or cattle at a school and I’m not sure how well 8 year olds would go with slaughtering animals. It’s a decile 2 school, they’re not just going to pop in to Faro fresh and pick up some prosciutto.

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  32. HC (154 comments) says:

    Alan – 08.43 am – Yes the lack of “community” is amiss in many places, in society as a whole, as it has become a me first, me all the way, me, me, me society over the years. But re the land that is visible, it is likely to be owned by someone, and even if a landlord is Housing NZ, they may not approve of it to be turned into gardens. There are adults and kids making poor choices in all kinds or places and social circles, but yes, bad influences can “spread” and “breed” in certain neighbourhoods. Even if land was to be made available, I am sure the supermarkets and greengrocers would not like such “competition”.

    Nevertheless, you need to start somewhere, and with many these days having little clues about real cooking, about gardening, food preparation and so, it is a good idea, to start with this at schools. It must be done though, b not taking up too much time, and by fitting into the main curriculum. Maths, science, reading and so forth need to have priority.

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  33. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    Ye gods, longknives, your ignorance is showing again. Can you read?
    It is a garden to table programme. Thus the vegetarian pizza. It’s not difficult to understand, longknives.

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  34. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    Chris @ 8.03am – exactly right.
    The schools garden to table programme sounds like a great initiative.

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  35. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    MH, are you and longknives fighting for the stupidest comment of the day?
    HC @ 9.17am – well said.

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  36. Changeiscoming (190 comments) says:

    So is David Shearer now to the right of John Key?

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  37. Odakyu-sen (676 comments) says:

    “As for “free choice”, yeah right, then stop all this … … and increase the speed limit to 200 km/h, please, if you want to stand on principles!”

    Free choice only works if you take responsibility for the outcomes of your actions.

    Sure, convert the speed limit signs into “recommended speed” signs, but if you cause an accident, you must bear full responsibility for the damage. (Prosecution for dangerous driving, no ACC, restitution to the damaged party, no protection from civil lawsuits, etc.)

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  38. hj (7,031 comments) says:

    Lack of community has been exarcerbated by an ethos tbat diversity is good (“diversity dividend” crap).

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  39. Harriet (4,972 comments) says:

    “……We have lost the basic skills of how to garden and provide for ourselves……….So my aim is that my Food in Schools Bill will put resources into schools to help teach those simple skills, and enable kids to eat the food they grow themselves and understand a healthy diet….”

    Needed foundational skills that will be taught in the schools of the modern NZ society.

    How fucken sad is that ———- feminist inspired mothers who can’t now teach their kids to cook good food!

    NZ is going backwards!

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