NZ Herald reports:
An expert advisory group created by the Children’s Commissioner recommends that all low-decile schools offer pupils free food in an immediate effort to tackle child poverty.
Call me old fashioned, but I always thought it was the responsibility of parents to supply breakfast, not schools.
The programme would be like the Food for Kids scheme run in 223 low-decile schools in a partnership between children’s charity KidsCan and the Government.
Under that programme children get three free food items a day from a list including toast, baked beans and fruit. The Ministry of Social Development pays for 11 per cent and the rest comes from public donations.
Having said the above, if the taxpayer is only paying 11% that existing programme seems pretty good.
The Office of the Children’s Commissioner confirmed providing free food in all low-decile schools was among the group’s recommendations, but would not say if it would be an extension of the KidsCan partnership.
If extended to New Zealand’s 861 decile 1 to 4 primary and intermediate schools, the KidsCan scheme would cost $3.3 million a year, based on existing costs outlined in its submission on the Government’s Green Paper on Vulnerable Children.
But can it be extended for the same cost? I have doubts. Then down the track you have half the kids in NZ receiving food from the Government, instead of their families.
Bryan Bruce, whose documentary Inside Child Poverty looked at the extent of the problem in New Zealand in the run-up to last year’s general election, said every child should receive one healthy meal a day.
I agree. And that is why we have welfare benefits, child tax credits, working for families, in-work tax credits and the like. So families can afford to pay for food for their kids. To then have the Government cut the families out of the equation, and start feeding their kids directly is a fairly dramatic step.