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Food in Schools?

Written By: - Date published: 6:32 am, September 28th, 2011 - 33 comments
Categories: john key, schools, slippery - Tags: ,

While looking at something else, I came across John Key’s 2007 promise to provide Food in Schools for poorer schools.

I wondered what action had been taken on that promise?  Well they allowed junk food back in all schools, but I don’t think that counts as helping hungry kids at poorer schools. But there was just one thing that they did do: a well-televised, $320,000 pay-out to KidsCan at the end of The Big Night In Telethon that raised money for the charity.

Apparently that $320,000 will fund food for 7,500 kids.

That’s about $42 per child – how many meals will that be funding for each of them?

And then we see the traditional recycled National MP press release flowing about it, with all faux localness.

Nikki Kaye shows some editing, by only doing Great Barrier, rather than her entire electorate, and adding a sentence on the top and bottom.

Another 4 just insert their electorate name in the title, their name in the first line and some local schools in the appropriate position:

John Carter tells us how far that $320,000 has gone in Northland.  Tim Macindoe (who?) – tells us about Hamilton West.  Michael Woodhouse gives us a Dunedin North (List) look.  Todd McClay tells us about all the Rotorua schools helped.

The 7500 kids are spread across 150 schools apparently (which means one class per school gets fed), so that’ll be about 2 per electorate.  One has to be suspicious of the (identical) Nikki/ John/ Tim/ Michael/ Todd quote: “I’m really pleased that local schools will benefit, including…”  – particularly in John Carter’s release with 17 schools.  There are a lot of poor Northland Schools, but with 29 schools in 4 and a bit electorates nominated (and Judith Collins has another 5), I’m pretty sure that’s the complete list of schools in each electorate, not an “including” list…

Simon Bridges hasn’t gone for the recycled press release, with significant re-writing, but there’s another school in his electorate.

But it all adds up to maximum PR per dollar spent rather than truly fulfilling John’s election promise by making sure our children have full tummies ready for learning – which would cost a whole lot more than $320,000.

Although this post should be covered by the opinion section of electoral law and shouldn’t need authorisation, here’s mine anyway, just to be safe:
Authorised by Ben Clark, 54 Aramoana Ave, Devonport

33 comments on “Food in Schools? ”

  1. Blue 1

    Here’s a novel idea – why don’t their parents feed them? A lot of kids that are apparently not getting fed have some Mums and Dads that don’t look like they’ve missed many feeds. I know a lot here feel its the Governments job to do everything, but perhaps no smokes + no booze + no dope = food for your kids? I know if it was me I’d rather go hungry than let my kids go without food.

    • AAMC 1.1

      I’ve got a better idea, plant fruit trees in all schools, the gift thy keeps giving.

      • Ben Clark 1.1.1

        Here in Devonport we’ve a great Transition Towns project of community fruit trees. I’ve planted one on my council verge for marauding school-kids to enjoy mandarins. Also, most of the council gardens in town have silverbeet and herbs in them. Yet to see anyone actually take any of it, but it’ll get overgrown if people don’t start eating it soon!

        Blue – some of those parents are going hungry as well. Mangere Budget Centre is reporting people having $80 left for the week after fixed costs (rent, power etc) to feed a family of 4… while Otago research says that it costs a minimum of $200 to do so…

        • Blue 1.1.1.1

          So whats your immediate policy going to be to solve this, Ben? Talk is fine, we are used to that, but action is what is required, otherwise its just more noise. How long does it take for a mandarin tree to grow to maturity to actually provide fruit? This will make precisely ‘dick’ difference to kids going hungry today. Is this your solution???

          • AAMC 1.1.1.1.1

            And there you’ve summed up BLUE thinking. Short term!

          • lprent 1.1.1.1.2

            I think that not promising something without a plan for actually achieving it would be the first step – don’t you?

            Or are you so embedded in being an apologist for John Key’s inabilities to do anything he promises that you don’t really want to look at that question?

            Perhaps you should suggest what John Key should have done instead of just lying about doing anything at all.

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      Here’s a novel idea – why don’t their parents feed them? A lot of kids that are apparently not getting fed have some Mums and Dads that don’t look like they’ve missed many feeds.

      Here’s a novel idea, why don’t you stop blaming the poor like an asshole, and examine a Govt who recognises that there is a real problem whith child poverty in this country (hence they put in place this programme) but have done it for looks and PR only.

      You are such a valiant protector of the wealthy.

      • Blue 1.2.1

        No thanks CV, I’ll always blame parents for neglecting their kids. They are, after all, THEIRS.

        “you are such a valiant protector of the wealthy” Really, thats all you’ve got? you are such a valiant protector of the idle and uneducated but never, ever have a plan that contributes to any mitigation. You are a spectator of life locked in an ideology that has been rejected time and time again all over the world, but fail to see that most disagree with you. Now stop getting hysterical and give us some ideas to save these kids from their parents.

        • AAMC 1.2.1.1

          ” You are a spectator of life locked in an ideology that has been rejected time and time again all over the world”

          Hmm, and your a protector of an ideology which is currently disintegration before our eyes. See, sometimes, when there are two ideas fighting to be right, they can both turn out to be wrong. Although, I do laugh at this “we won the cultural revolution” rhetoric, cause currently, Capitalism is busy asking Communist China to continue to underwrite it’s ponzi scheme. So who won again?

          The problem perhaps is one of “bigness” and a continuing debate around TWO failed ideas.
          http://m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/sep/25/crisis-bigness-leopold-kohr?cat=commentisfree&type=article

        • framu 1.2.1.2

          wheres your ideas then sunshine!?

          all youve put up so far is stereotypes

    • Draco T Bastard 1.3

      A lot of kids that are apparently not getting fed have some Mums and Dads that don’t look like they’ve missed many feeds.

      You do know that poor diet adds weight don’t you?

    • Here’s a novel idea; why doesn’t this government implement job creation policies and lift wages? You know – like they promised back in 2008?!

      “…but perhaps no smokes + no booze + no dope = food for your kids?”

      And perhaps Assumption + Prejudice + Rightwing politics = Utterly Clueless?

      But let’s assume the you’re right – so what? Why should children have to go without food just because your scenario was correct?

      But the reality is not what exists between your ears, “Blue”. Reality is this: No Jobs + High Rents + High CoL + Increase in GST (thankyou, National!) = Desperate People.

      Blaming the victims: dead easy.

      Doing something about it: Too Hard Basket.

      Thankyou for your input, Blue. It’s about as useful as ACT’s Party List.

      • Blue 1.4.1

        My pleasure Frank, as usual you add nothing to the debate except slogans and excuses. More talk and no action. Whats it like sitting on the sidelines postulating whilst others do the work? Its no wonder the left have no traction with middle New Zealand, 26% and falling.

        • McFlock 1.4.1.1

          Oh, if you’re talking about “the left” then it’s 38% and rising, with a couple of randoms like NZ1 and Mana in the mix, too.
            
          As opposed to the toryboys who are only  a few % away from a minority…

        • bbfloyd 1.4.1.2

          “what’s it like sitting on the sidelines whilst others do the work”… so what are YOU doing to solve this problem little bluey?

          apart from wasting everyones time sneering and posturing… seems to me that you are getting a rather unhealthy tickle out of being the center of attention(albeit momentary)… does being lampooned turn you on as much as having intelligent people waste time trying to be fair with you and argue points of reality whilst you wallow in the reactionary trough?

          just curious….

        • Frank Macskasy 1.4.1.3

          “More talk and no action. Whats it like sitting on the sidelines postulating whilst others do the work?”

          Oh, the irony of that comment…

          In case you hadn’t noticed, Blue, it was JOHN KEY that made the promise of a “National Food in Schools programme” – not the Left. And it’s John Key who talked up the programme – and yet we’ve seen very little action.

          Funny how it’s National in government but you blame the Left for “no action”? I thought right wingers were big on personal responsibility?

  2. Afewknowthetruth 2

    I see that the Labour candidate is promoting short term solutions that look good but which amplify the greater problem.

    A worldwide food crisis is on the horizon, and the only possible solution -permaculture- doesn’t even get a mention, except by commentators on blogs (who get ignored).

    Yes AAMC, planting fruit trees (everywhere they will grow, not just in schools) would be a step in the right direction.

    As long as politics is focued on arguing about ‘he said, she said’ instead of addressing the fundamental issues everything that matters will continue to get rapidly worse.

    • AAMC 2.1

      And avocado and nut trees, we need protein too!

    • Craig Glen Eden 2.2

      Try reading whats Bens actually written Afewknowthetruth seems how you missed it here it is again!

      “Here in Devonport we’ve a great Transition Towns project of community fruit trees. I’ve planted one on my council verge for marauding school-kids to enjoy mandarins. Also, most of the council gardens in town have silverbeet and herbs in them”.

      Oh so Ben is talking some long term solutions well fancy pants that.

  3. JS 3

    Yes food security is the next big issue. Why we need to keep NZ land in NZ hands producing cheap healthy food for the locals.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Someone please tell this to Fonterra and its farmer shareholders.

      • tc 3.1.1

        Yup…checkout Gwyn Dyers ‘Climate wars’ where amongst other facty stuff he points to the pentagon’s that’s had a team looking at the impact of mass migrations based on accessing arable land for decades now and the impact on border security etc….seeing it in africa awhile now.

    • Especially as the planet’s population is now 7 billion, and estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050. In which case arable land will become the new “oil fields” of the mid-to-late 21st century. We sell that productive land base at our peril.

      (Which, it seems, we are collectively stupid enough to do. The Germans, Chinese, Americans, et al must be laughing their arses off at us!)

  4. Steve Wrathall 4

    How about dumping the ETS and the huge increases in farming costs that it will entail-which will have to be passed onto the very people you claim to care so much about.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Dumping the ETS doesn’t get rid of the costs you moron. They’re still there and we’ll need to pay them – it’s just that instead of the the dirty farmers paying them it will be the taxpayers.

      The better idea would be to ensure that everyone has enough income and that the taxes are appropriate. Something we will never get from the RWNJs as they’re far more interested in propping up the bludgers rich.

  5. Ianupnorth 5

    A few pointers (from someone in the know)
     
    1) The current Fruit in Schools programme started as a part of the national cancer strategy, to increase the amount of fruit and veg (hence fibre, antioxidants and vitamins) in the diets of children in decile one and two schools; this was to be extended to decile three and four, but guess what, it stopped at decile two, and unsurprisingly many schools became deciles threes just at the time of the last rollout.
     
    2) Schools could apply for funding to develop sustainable approaches to being self sufficient (tree planting, gardens, etc), but guess what, the funding for that was also stopped.
     
    3) Instead of having money targeted to those in need, the government removed the above funding and replaced it with ‘Kiwisport’, which provided a ‘per student’ amount – ideal for decile 10 schools to buy their elite students tracksuits, etc, not much use if you are rural, as the $17 per pupil doesn’t go very far.
     
    4) The evidence shows that having the fruit acts as an incentive for students to attend; many school report increased achievement, many report improved oral health, improved skin health, improved attention in class – all of which save the country money.
     
    5) Whilst schools are grateful for the fruit, it should be remembered the processes used to deliver it costs money; e.g. it is couriered twice per week from elsewhere in the country, rather than being locally sourced. Some schools could access certain produce locally (often there is a dearth of kiwi fruit, apples, pears, etc); however, some schools indicate they really could do with other things their children don’t ever receive, e.g milk or cheese.
     
    6) The schools themselves have also used the fruit and veg in meaningful ways, e.g. extra fruit is used for cooking, distributed to the elderly, made into jam and used to raise funds; I even know of a school who have a pig that is being raised on fruit scraps.
     
    Whilst the arguments around parental responsibility and neglect abound (and I personally am NOT in favour of breakfast clubs as I feel they lead to a dependency culture), there is a need for a lunchtime safety net. It is typical of this government to lament their success in this area, but the above was a Labout initiative, bragging about matching charitable donation is very, very shallow.

  6. The problem is that the average wage is to low . Essentials to life are too expensive. In the 50/60s most working families had one income coming in yet bought their own homes and had regular holiday.Why, state advanced morgages , family allowance , 40 hour week , a decent social security system and last but certainly not least compusory union .
    Suddenly we told we were told we could not afford these things and that we need Rogernomics and Ruthless Ruth to save us from ruin. The political Right that had been covertly working away took over and it will take years to regain the decent society we had ,if ever. I can’t believe what we have allowed to happen and I live in sorrow.

    • Vicky32 6.1

      Essentials to life are too expensive. In the 50/60s most working families had one income coming in yet bought their own homes and had regular holiday.Why, state advanced morgages , family allowance , 40 hour week , a decent social security system and last but certainly not least compusory union .

      Exactly! My parents raised four kids on one (working class) wage through the 50s, 60s and part of the 70s… we had our own home (inherited, but our neighbours had bought theirs) and my Mum never worked outside the home after I (the oldest) was born – she neither needed nor wanted to! There were times the family allowance came in very handy (it could be capitalised for school uniforms for instance)

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