The KickStart Breakfast programme

Paula Bennett has announced:

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett believes the Government has struck the right balance by supporting the KickStart Breakfast expansion.

“This is a genuine partnership between the Government, the community and New Zealand business which will benefit children,” says Mrs Bennett.

The KickStart Breakfast programme will increase from two to five mornings a week in decile one to four schools. Higher decile schools that want and need it, can opt in during 2014.

Government will back the programme with resources, Fonterra and Sanitarium will distribute the food, and communities will run the breakfasts and provide the bowls and spoons needed. 

Parents should be feeding their kids. If parents are failing to do, it is a parenting problem -not a money problem. The cost of a breakfast at home is almost trivial.

But until those parents are feeding their kids properly, I’d far rather have an initiative involving the community, charities, businesses with some Govt resources – than merely saying the Government should be held responsible for feeding all school children.

“Parents are responsible for feeding their children. But we can’t ignore the fact that some children turn up hungry and can’t learn on an empty stomach.”

“We don’t want to replace parental responsibility, but the Government,  community, non-government organisations and business partners all have a shared responsibility for children,” says Mrs Bennett.

The cost to the Government is up to $9.5 million over five years, matched in value by Fonterra and Sanitarium.

Well done Fonterra and Sanitarium for playing a part, on top of their current commitments.

“I’m delighted we’re also increasing our investment in KidsCan to $1.5 million over three years to provide children with basic necessities like raincoats and shoes,” Mrs Bennett says.

“I have huge respect for the work they do and the way they do it.”

“Stepping in to provide breakfast to children is not a solution to poverty, but it does fit into a vast programme of initiatives and policies targeted to vulnerable and low income families with children.”

It isn’t a solution, but it will help some kids whose parents aren’t able.

The Government has a strong record over the past four and a half years of targeting assistance and support to those who need it most. Budget 2013 included further initiatives targeted to low income families like:

  • $100 million to extend the home insulation programme

  • $24 million for rheumatic fever prevention

  • $41 million for ECE for vulnerable children

  • $35 million for carers of children

  • Low and no interest loan options

No doubt some will say it isn’t enough, but I reckon that is a significant contribution considering the huge deficits NZ has had since the GFC.

Of course the Greens will say we should just print more money, and hand it out to poor families. Yes, seriously.

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