Principals back food in schools bill
Hone Harawira (AAP)
The Principals' Federation is throwing its support behind Mana leader Hone Harawira's bill to provide food in low-decile schools.
Mr Harawira's Education (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Amendment Bill is yet to have its first reading after being introduced to Parliament in November.
It proposes to introduce state-funded breakfast and lunch programmes into all decile 1 and 2 schools, and other designated schools.
The bill is likely to be debated for the first time in February and the Principals' Federation has just announced its support.
"It is now a well-established fact that that at least 200,000 children in New Zealand are living below the poverty line. The upshot of this is that these children start the day without adequate breakfast," president Philip Harding says.
The federation is urging all school principals to support Mr Harawira's bill.
It wants Government agencies to provide substantial breakfast meals to all low-decile schools and resource a paid worker to co-ordinate each school's food programme.
Last year, the Children's Commissioner's expert advisory group on solutions to child poverty and Child Poverty Action Group also lent their support to the bill.
A report from the advisory group, released in December, said: "KidsCan, Fonterra and Sanitarium currently provide food in some schools but we believe that central Government has a responsibility to provide leadership and resources to assist schools through a national strategy for food in [early childhood education centres] and schools in low-decile neighbourhoods."
The Government did not comment on food in schools in its response to the report.