1 May 2013

Support for school breakfasts and lunches

9:41 pm on 1 May 2013

Dozens of organisations and community groups are supporting proposed legislation aimed at feeding children breakfast and lunch at school.

The Education Amendment (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Bill, dubbed the 'Feed the Kids Bill', supports a national programme for fully state-funded food in all low decile schools.

The Community Campaign for Food in Schools urging MPs to back the bill was launched on Wednesday before its first reading in Parliament in August.

Supporters include UNICEF, the Public Health Association, Plunket and the Education Institute.

The national advocacy manager for UNICEF, Barbara Lambourn, says 270,000 children live in poverty in New Zealand and this bill could change that.

"In many countries across the world it's absolutely normal to feed children in schools and to make sure they get the best out of the day and that they're actually in a good condition to learn.

"So we don't see why we shouldn't certainly get this bill into a select committee where all of those things can be properly discussed."

Ms Lambourn said hungry children have difficulty concentrating at school and learning.

In 2012, an expert advisory group to the Children's Commissioner called for such a programme. The bill was introduced by Mana Party leader Hone Harawira in November.

Prime Minister John Key said on Wednesday the Government would consider a report from the Children's Commissioner before making a decision on supporting the bill.

Mr Key said the Government has been involved in similar programmes, such as Fruit in Schools.