Budget: corporate “charity” not the solution to Feeding the Kids

Written By: - Date published: 9:21 am, May 15th, 2013 - 24 comments
Categories: capitalism, child welfare, hone harawira, jobs, mana, Privatisation, schools, wages - Tags: ,

“Leaks” of the content of Thursday’s budget, indicate that the government has responded to pressure for tackling child poverty and affordable housing.  As in Eddie’s post this morning, ‘Stealth privatistion of housing in the budget‘, it looks like the government is also planning to out-source feeding children in schools to private business.

Last night, John Campbell certainly seemed to have picked up on this move to make businesses central to blunting the edge of child poverty.  On the Thursday’s budget, Campbell says:

We believe they are going to announce initiatives to get more milk and food into schools.

Campbell welcomes this as an urgent need for children living in poverty.  However he also believes that the government is going to make deals with private enterprise to provide this.  This would be an extension of Fonterra’s milk in schools project, with more businesses becoming involved.

However, Campbell is concerned that organisations that are already doing great work on the ground will be marginalised and not get any increase in funding: organisations like KidsCan and the Aranui Community Trust in Christchurch.  Campbell argues that such organisations have expertise on the ground that includes and goes beyond supplying food.  They have the skills and systems necessary for identifying, and responding to, health and other problems related to poverty.  They also approach their work with children in a way that aims to treat them with dignity.

However, provisions for a basic need should not be left largely to charities and/or businesses.  It should be a core provision by the state.  In the development of Hone Harawira’s private member Education (Breakfast and Lunch in Schools) Amendment Bill this is recognised.  A Fact Sheet on the web page for the Bill, known as the ‘Feed the Kids’ Bill, commends charitable organisations for their work, but recognises their limitations:

Key organisations such as Every Child Counts, the Child Poverty Action Group, and the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group – have recommended food programmes in schools as an immediate way to help address child poverty in New Zealand. The Bill also recognises the importance of charities, businesses, and school volunteers currently involved in food in schools programmes and they will be important to the success of this policy, but reliance on charity and volunteers is often uncertain, especially in difficult economic times.

State funded breakfast and lunch programmes will bring certainty and ensure that all children in decile 1 and 2 schools are able to learn at school and be well on an on-going basis.

The Bill aims to make the state central to the programme, in a way that is likely to be lacking from the provisions to be announced in this week’s budget.
How would the Feed the Kids programme work? 

Government would provide funding to ensure all decile 1 and 2 schools are able to provide nutritional breakfasts and lunches to all their students.

The bill gives schools the flexibility to implement practices that work best for them.

Part of the funding would be used to employ somebody to co-ordinate the programme.

This person would work with local businesses, charitable organisations, other schools, community networks, and of course school families themselves, to buy food and prepare meals.

The funding will also cover all food costs although donations of food will still be welcomed.

The government is likely to be trying to provide cover for not supporting Harawira’s Bill.  It is therefore a good move by Harawira to delay the first reading of the Bill until 10 July as announced today:

“It also gives me more time to persuade ACT, United Future, and National MPs that the Bill deserves to go to Select Committee.”

“Government recognises the need for food in schools programmes, and they clearly support the need for a public discussion on how best to run them here in Aotearoa. What I’m asking is simple: that they support the Bill at first reading so select committee can hear from experts and interested members of the public.”

Harawira argues that usually families and communities should be responsible for feeding children, but that the immediate poverty is so widespread and serious, the government needs to step in.  Ultimately, adequate food and other provisions can be ensured by better pay and social security provisions rather than relying on charity or the private sector.  The exorbitant profiteering by some corporates is part of the problem, and, given their current ethos, will never be part of a long term solution.

24 comments on “Budget: corporate “charity” not the solution to Feeding the Kids”

  1. One Anonymous Knucklehead 1

    typo: “child poverty and affordable poverty”?

    The private sector cannot compete with public provision of basic needs since they are required to make a profit. If this is the National Party’s hastily cobbled together in the face of dismal internal polling plan it is a typically ideological approach.

    The first step to tackling child poverty is to attack the root cause: neoliberalism must be rooted out and and crushed wherever it is found. The intrusion of the profit motive into public service must end.

  2. One Anonymous Knucklehead 2

    Before the wingnut whining starts: “It’s too difficult” “It’s too expensive” “nice to have” “but but but Laaaabbbboooouuuurrr”,

    Whatever it takes.

    It’s almost unheard of for a child to show up hungry or homeless. Finland provides three years of maternity leave and subsidized day care to parents, and preschool for all 5-year-olds, where the emphasis is on play and socializing. In addition, the state subsidizes parents, paying them around 150 euros per month for every child until he or she turns 17. Ninety-seven percent of 6-year-olds attend public preschool, where children begin some academics. Schools provide food, medical care, counseling and taxi service if needed. Stu­dent health care is free.

    • ghostrider888 2.1

      great links; “top 10% of grads, Masters in Ed. required; Identifies Bill Gates funding of the “race to the top” status quo in the US; Oh well, heart-warming to reflect on as the closing bell rings.

    • Mike S 2.2

      Further to your post, Finland also has no exams in it’s education system and no competition.It has no private schools, all schools are publicly funded. Children can basically decide what they wish to study. There is no centralized curriculum like NCEA, teachers make up their own curriculum. As mentioned in another post, all teachers require a masters degree. There are no national standards. Finland consistently comes top in the world in terms of education standards and ability of students upon leaving school.

      In my opinion, the biggie in terms of student achievment is competition. We are constantly taught to compete whether at school or in adult life. Proponents say competition is good whether in business, sport or education. They claim that humans are by nature competitive, individualistic and selfish. However this is definitely incorrect. Numerous studies have shown that competition is a hindrance to excellence. It is difficult for many people to accept that competition is detrimental to students learning as from the day we are born we are taught to compete.

  3. mac1 3

    I have seen food in schools in Japan provided to all students for lunch- a nutritious, tasty (I ate two meals- on separate days I hasten to add) and involving the student group and teacher in distribution to the class at lunch time followed by whole group clean-up- good social skills are learned in this.

    What is being foreshadowed for the budget is a first step and should be recognised with some commendation.

    However, low decile schools are not the only schools which have children in poverty and which have children in nutritional debt, by which I mean either hungry or poorly fed. I’m an ex-teacher of health who also got involved in dealing with problematic boys at a state secondary school for boys. Even with good education about wise and adequate nutrition, it still didn’t always happen. Many problem boys I dealt with had poor eating histories- I investigated this as part of dealing with them.

    This school has a decile ranking of six or seven. It takes all boys from the area, from all ranges on the economic scale except for the very well-off some of whom pack their sons off to boarding school. Some of those boys suffered from poor nutrition- little or no breakfast, poor food when supplied or bought from the canteen or local shops.

    I’ve seen the results of poor nutrition in the classroom. One poor, thin, small for his age, boy shivering in warmish weather from lack of energy because his drug-taking solo father did not supply even evening meals regularly. The boy now ‘grown’ into a man now comes before the courts. He had little education, and little prospects even then.

    I wonder also what will happen to those children who habitually are late to school. Will they get some of this free breakfast? Because they are late, they will have missed breakfast at home. I hope that the school breakfast is fed to them during school time anyway to capture those children who are just on time or are late.

    Surely the state can supply food for all kids in all schools as do the Japanese? The proposals for school breakfasts will go some way but will it apply to secondary schools as well? To all decile rankings? It should, to be fair and even-handed.

    If not, then ways must be devised for the state to allow children with poor nutrition to be fed adequately. That would include living wages, cheaper food, child allowances, education, monitoring of at risk children etc etc etc.

    I live in a region where we have the highest food costs in the country combined with the lowest wage economy. We as a community live with these problems daily. Let’s continue to develop this good start as far as we need to. We cannot afford not to.

  4. AsleepWhileWalking 4

    Yet again those in anything higher than the “wealthy” decile three schools are abandoned.

  5. tracey 5

    Like giving Sky more tables and pokies in return for a convention centre aucklanders dont even know they need? That won’t impact children, at all

    • David H 5.1

      And that nice Sky Casino will teach them how to count, 2 people in, with $400.00 = 2 people broke 1 hour later. But forgot to carry the 3 starving kids at home. But that’s ok, that nice Mr Key has organised food for the kiddies. It’s left overs from the, local FF restaurants, and for a treat a loaf of 3 day old bread to take home to last the nigt.

  6. Mary 6

    Hone’s bill focuses on deciles 1 and 2, but Mana’s policy is to eventually move food in schools across the board in order to jettison notions of charity that inevitably come with such an approach. Mana’s intention is to base the policy more in terms of how we run our education system rather than as a welfare-based initiative. It was always, though, in these early stages, a golden opportunity for National to come along and hijack it with its poor law-based belief that private charity should replace state welfare altogether. Yet another mechanism that helps NAct continue its war on the poor, driving further wedges between the haves and have nots, and the only way they can push their agenda is by doing it by stealth in order to avoid the disdain and public outrage that would ordinarily stop such outrageousness in its tracks. Total slime.

    • ghostrider888 6.1

      yes, Nats have been politicking off Labour / Green / Mana signals.

      • Mary 6.1.1

        Labour and the Greens now have to call Key et al on what they’re doing for what it is, and say they’ll extend the food in schools across the board as an as-off-right policy, which includes taking all corporate charity out of the equation.

  7. Populuxe1 7

    I have no time for stupid ideological either/or propositions – tarting state ‘charity’ up as a basic human right is not much better than putting ‘charity’ in the hands of the nobless oblige of rich patrons and the largess corporations. The qualities of Mercy are not strained. The problem must be tackled horizontally with every possible resource; corporate, private, and state working together as a comunity. Children are too important for political pissing matches. The stakes are too high.

    • ghostrider888 7.1

      butter both sides

    • karol 7.2

      No policies are non-political, including yours, Pop. And the government policy looks to include all the agencies you refer to, with all the weaknesses I have mentioned.

      • Populuxe1 7.2.1

        You would first have to prove to me, Karol, that any other party would be giving more money to those agencies on the ground in the first place. Can’t see Labour doing that. Therefore this policy is an improvement, and surprisngly it would seem to go above and beyond anything the last Labour government achieved. Those “weaknesses” you’ve highlighted are almost entirely the result of various interest groups wanting keep a hierarchy of control and a lot of blind idealism when there is clearly a consensus that there is an issue that needs to be dealt with. Any delays caused by political grandstanding are days of nutrition lost to poor children. The responsibility for the wellbeing of children extends well beyond family and community.

        • ghostrider888 7.2.1.1

          what was your academic specialty Pop, if you don’t mind the enquiry.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.2.1.2

          Bullshit. Labour is not the government. When they were inequality decreased. What has National done? Attacked workers, done its best to drive wages down, but now here’s some charity.

          Like a mugger selling crutches.

          • Colonial Viper 7.2.1.2.1

            Bullshit. Labour is not the government. When they were inequality decreased.

            And home affordability decreased. And reductions in child poverty slowed down. And shut down schools. And got rid of the special benefit. And introduced work testing for beneficiaries. And…you get the idea.

  8. tracey 8

    If National is going to supply food for decile 1 and 2 children does that mean they think those children are experiencing some kind of negative effect of pvoerty? If yes, how did they measure Poverty and do they still say that poverty is too hard to define (see PBennett’s numerous answers in the house). So are they throwing money at a programme pretending to address a problem they dont believe exists, are they trying to buy votes from decile 1 and 2 school parents and teachers?

  9. tracey 9

    “Government would provide funding to ensure all decile 1 and 2 schools are able to provide nutritional breakfasts and lunches to all their students.

    The bill gives schools the flexibility to implement practices that work best for them.
    Part of the funding would be used to employ somebody to co-ordinate the programme.

    This person would work with local businesses, charitable organisations, other schools, community networks, and of course school families themselves, to buy food and prepare meals.”

    I guess we have to wait ont he details but if the funding is for a person to manage the programme it may be that person has to find the money/suppliers (for free) to provide the food. Remember any donation attracts a 33% rebate. When JK made this change in 2008/2009 he expected charitable donations that benefit society at large to increase. I wonder if they have?

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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