Green bill to replace parents defeated

The Herald reports:

A bill in her name, originally known as Hone Harawira’s “feed the kids” bill was defeated in Parliament this evening, by 59 votes to 61 at its first reading.

She inherited the bill from Mr Harawira after he lost his Te Tai Tokerau seat at the election last year.

The bill provided for state-funded breakfast and lunches at all decile one and two schools.

Why not dinners also? I mean if a family is so incompetent that can’t arrange breakfast or lunch for their kids, then surely we can’t trust them to do dinner also. We can’t have kids going to bed hungry. So I think we also need huge state owned dining places where kids can get their dinners for free.

Last week Ms Turei claimed that KidsCan had said that up to 90 per cent of kids in schools went to school without lunch every day – a statement she later corrected and apologised for.

Today she visited Windley School in Porirua where 50 children were fed with peanut butter and jam sandwiches and criticized Mr Key for not agreeing to go with her.

She tabled a KidsCan document showing that KidsCan fed about 15,000 across 448 schools, an average of 33 pupils in each of the participating schools.

KidsCan do a great job, and they get government and private sector support. The Greens and Labour want to replace that with a government funded and managed feeding scheme in all low decile schools regardless of need.

I note the figure of 15,000 students. We have 767,258 students in our school system. So that is 2% of total students. Not 90%.

Mr Key said while some children went to school without lunch, he did not think it was widespread.

He said he had asked Hekia Parata at 1.41 pm today to call three schools, decile one or two, and ask them how many of their students had arrived at school without lunch then he recited the results.

“These are the facts,” Mr Key said. “At Te Waiu o Ngati Porou School, Ruatoria, Decile one, how many children came to school without lunch – answer – zero.”

At Sylvia Park School, decile two – there one or two kids, and at Manurewa Intermediate, a decile one school with a roll of 711, perhaps 12 had gone to school with no lunch, he said.

“Yes there is an issue where some children come to school without lunch. That number of children is relatively low,” Mr Key said.

Yet the Greens and Labour want parental responsibility for feeding kids to be abdicated to the state. Its an appalling idea.

We should target and help the families who are not properly feeding their kids. But you don’t do that by having the state step in as the provider of two of the three meals a day.

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