22 May 2013

Coupon system suggested to tackle child hunger

10:23 am on 22 May 2013

A lower North Island iwi leader is suggesting a coupon system to tackle the problem of children going to school without food.

A bill put forward by Mana Party leader Hone Harawira on the provision food for school children is due to have its first reading in July. The Education (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Amendment Bill would provide funding for low decile schools to give meals to students.

Te Runanga o Ngati Toa Rangatira chairman Taku Parai supports the move and says coupons give parents the ability to buy food for their children.

He suggests the coupons could go directly to a retailer and only be used to buy food and warm clothes for children.

The principal of a Maori School north of Wellington says children going without kai (food) is a growing problem.

Te Kura Maori o Porirua already provides breakfast to its pupils and tumuaki (principal) Sophie Tukukino says she supports any initiative that tries to improve the lives of children.

Ms Tukukino says an increasing number of students have breakfast at the school, and for some it is their main meal of the day.

She says the school keeps an eye on about 40 students from some 20 families.