Nats split on food in schools?

Written By: - Date published: 6:40 am, May 29th, 2013 - 87 comments
Categories: bill english, child welfare, john key, national, schools - Tags: ,

Colin Espiner reckons that the Nats are split on food in schools:

Prime Minister John Key has already addressed the argument that having the taxpayer fund breakfast for kids lets parents off the hook.

He told TV3’s Firstline this morning: “There’s an argument that’s put up, that you’re building dependency, and the responsibility to feed a child sits with the parent, and you are somehow sending the wrong message here, that the state will pick up the pieces if you don’t do the job as a parent. And I can understand that argument.” …

I have to admit I’m a little suspicious about the way this all unfolded. It seems odd that it was flagged but not announced in the Budget (I’ve heard of pre-budgie announcements, but post-budgie?). I’m fairly certain that this was either policy on the hoof designed to outflank Labour and the Mana Party, or the result of a ding-dong row in Cabinet over whether or not it was a good idea.

Anyone who caught Finance Minister Bill English on the news the other night being door-stopped on the subject will know exactly where the member for Clutha stands on this. He looked about as reluctant as a man waiting for a root canal.

I can well imagine the drier members of National’s caucus baulking at the idea. They would argue New Zealand needs to lift people out of welfare dependency, rather than ensnare more people in it.

For once I agree with an Espiner. A caucus war fits the facts. Key has talked about food in schools since 2007. The KickStart programme was already there, waiting to be built on. Action on poverty was foreshadowed for the budget, but then got punted to a post-budget announcement. A compromise with Bill English, who couldn’t stomach it in the budget?

If so is a fairly fundamental split within National, between the hardline conservatives who would leave kids hungry in the name of parental responsibility, and pragmatists who will swallow a dead rat every now and again in an attempt to stay popular. Alas, I don’t think there is any faction in the mix that genuinely cares about children’s welfare, or they would have come up with something better than $1.9 million per year.  That’s less than $17 per participating school per school day – much less than $1 per child.*

*Rough estimate based on 570 participating schools and 200 school days

87 comments on “Nats split on food in schools?”

  1. logie97 1

    I got the impression from listening to Paula Bennett on RNZ last night http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2556654/government-to-expand-food-in-schools-programme.asx
    that she was pretty dismissive of it. She seemed to saying that it will start off with a hiss and a roar and much fanfair and then eventually demand will fall away.

    Job done, government gets issue off the front pages.

    It seems that schools themselves are going to have to run it. It will depend, therefore, on volunteers from the school community to manage it. Same old, same old there.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      “She seemed to saying that it will start off with a hiss and a roar and much fanfair and then eventually demand will fall away.”

      She’s probably right. Kids will be excited to begin with, and then it won’t be novel anymore and the kids that keep getting breakfast will be mocked and teased for being poor etc.

      Only in schools where this teasing doesn’t happen, eg where all of the kids get breakfast and are truly thankful for it, will the programme bed itself in.

      Of course if there was more variety than just weetbix and milk (toast with jam, honey and marmite is not hard to stretch too), it’d have a much better chance to. Which is probably why this policy was designed with such a meagre budget.

      • Psycho Milt 1.1.1

        Only in schools where this teasing doesn’t happen, eg where all of the kids get breakfast and are truly thankful for it, will the programme bed itself in.

        So it won’t bed itself in anywhere, then. Kids whose parents manage to stir themselves to provide breakfast aren’t thankful for breakfast, any more than they’re thankful for flush toilets or electricity. And nobody’s going to have any trouble recognising the kids with the deadbeat parents just because we start pretending it’s not the parents’ job to feed the kids.

        • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1

          Actually there was a report out not too long ago that said existing pilot schemes worked as I described: novel and exciting for a few weeks, but in most schools it dropped by the wayside. But for a few schools, a majority of kids kept going and were happy to.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2

        …and the kids that keep getting breakfast will be mocked and teased for being poor etc.

        Which is why it should be universal.

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    $17 PER SCHOOL per day !!

    The Millenium Institute , in Murray McCullys electorate, got $15 mill of taxpayers money to add another heated pool to their existing pool , so elite athletes didnt have to train with everyday punters.

  3. If so is a fairly fundamental split within National, between the hardline conservatives who would leave kids hungry in the name of parental responsibility, and pragmatists who will swallow a dead rat every now and again in an attempt to stay popular.

    FIFY:
    If so is a fairly fundamental split within National, between the ones who’ve noticed the evidence says this is a pointless waste of money and who can figure out the net effects will be negative rather than positive, and pragmatists who won’t hesitate to implement stupid ideas if the polls tell them to.

    • millsy 3.1

      What is your position on the school dental service?

      • Psycho Milt 3.1.1

        You seem to be on the wrong thread.

        • Clockie 3.1.1.1

          How so? If you’re going to argue that parents should provide for their kids, then surely in ideological terms that’s an all or nothing proposition. If your position is non ideological, then the argument simply becomes one of where exactly you’re going to draw the line.

          • Psycho Milt 3.1.1.1.1

            Well, exactly. It’s about where you draw the line. If you’re going to argue that parents shouldn’t have to provide for their kids, in ideological terms that’s an all or nothing proposition. Various reductio ad absurdum scenarios could be presented to highlight the foolishness of it. However, if no-one’s actually promoting that ideological proposition, offering the scenarios just makes you look a twat. This effort differs from millsy’s more usual “Why do you hate x, Psycho Milt?” efforts, but it’s no less stupid for that.

            • millsy 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Milt, my question is perfectly legitamite.

            • Clockie 3.1.1.1.1.2

              You and your mates ARE arguing that parents SHOULD have to support their own kids, yes? Ideology (any argument) cuts two ways. All Millsy is doing is turning your reductio ad absurdum the other way around and saying; “where are you drawing the line?” The question is are you arguing against food in schools on an ideological “personal responsibility” basis, or are you just arguing the toss about degrees of state support for kids in low decile schools? This is like the famous quip attributed to Winston Churchill:

              “Churchill: “Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?” Socialite: “My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course… “Churchill: “Would you sleep with me for five pounds?”
              Socialite: “Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!” Churchill: “Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price”

              So Millsy and I are saying, we know you’re a Tory bastard, the question is just how much of a Tory bastard are you?

              • You and your mates ARE arguing that parents SHOULD have to support their own kids, yes?

                It’s not so much “me and my mates” as evolution, morality and the NZ legal system that oblige parents to look after their children. Are you and millsy arguing that parents do not have to look after their children?

                All Millsy is doing is turning your reductio ad absurdum the other way around and saying; “where are you drawing the line?”

                Not so. All millsy is doing is offering that tired reductio ad absurdum fallacy that we often see from libertarians (eg, “If we’re happy to rely on private enterprise for our food system, there’s no reason not to rely on it for our health system”). He’s simply flipped it round to “If we’re happy to rely on the government for dental care in schools, there’s no reason not to rely on it for food.”

                The thing is, once you apply that ideology-based logical fallacy, you’re not in a position to draw a line – as you point out, it’s an all-or-nothing proposition. If the government providing dental care in schools justifies providing meals, it also justifies the provision of housing, clothing, health care, haircuts, toys and anything else currently provided by parents. In short, it’s a foolish argument to make.

                The question is are you arguing against food in schools on an ideological “personal responsibility” basis, or are you just arguing the toss about degrees of state support for kids in low decile schools?

                Both. And also that such programmes are demonstrably ineffective in the absence of measures to deal with the actual problem, rather than a relatively minor symptom of it.

                So Millsy and I are saying, we know you’re a Tory bastard, the question is just how much of a Tory bastard are you?

                If you define “Tory bastard” as anyone who believes being a parent involves fulfilling certain responsibilities for the relevant children, I’d certainly fall into that category, but I doubt it’s a widely-shared definition.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Its the role of govt to ensure that the economy provides sufficient work and income available for all families to live on.

                  This is a role that govt hasn’t been taking too seriously of late.

                • Clockie

                  Ahhh. I see we have a graduate of the Sophists artistic use of rhetoric for the purpose of deception.

                  “evolution, morality and the NZ legal system that oblige parents to look after their children. Are you and Millsy arguing that parents do not have to look after their children?”

                  The first sentence is in itself of fallacious argument used to deceive the reader and control the argument. Classic sophism. Evolution. In our “natural state” humans are evolved as communal beings who cooperate and share tasks and resources for the benefit of the group. Morality. A movable feast if ever there was one. NZ legal system, wellll, yes, but, that is also a movable feast too and there are a number of examples that one could use to show (like dentistry for children) that the State will share that responsibility where it sees fit.

                  The next two paragraphs in your mini-treatise are so much blah-blah and not worth my while to untangle but most here will see them for what they are (as I do).

                  “Both. And also that such programmes are demonstrably ineffective in the absence of measures to deal with the actual problem, rather than a relatively minor symptom of it.”

                  So you’re arguing on both ideological (essentially libertarian) grounds and also about degree. Like Churchill’s socialite you hold your virtue dearly but you’re prepared to negotiate some of it away. (is it possible to be a “little” virtuous I wonder 🙂 ). Personally I have no problem addressing the issues which lead to child poverty. Please, lets do that. Unfortunately for the last thirty years successive governments have made a less than adequate job of doing that so in the mean time, what say we feed some hungry kids. Ever been hungry? Had that painful gnawing in the gut that stops you from thinking and leaves you weak at the knees?

                  “If you define “Tory bastard” as anyone who believes being a parent involves fulfilling certain responsibilities for the relevant children, I’d certainly fall into that category, but I doubt it’s a widely-shared definition.”

                  I’d say that most readers here will broadly agree with my definition, but if we were to shift the discussion to kiwiblog, for example, I’m sure redbaiter & co. would have a different take on things.

        • millsy 3.1.1.2

          No distinction between food in schools and the school dental service (or hearing/eye tests, etc for that matter).

  4. My sense is the Collins faction in Caucus threw a bit of a tantrum. It is so sad when ideology trumps humanity.

    Certainly the announcement was delayed and delayed. The package was meant to be announced in the budget according to Key and he even said to TV3 that there was a line item in the budget relating to it. The link is at http://www.3news.co.nz/Governments-Food-for-Schools-revealed/tabid/367/articleID/298207/Default.aspx

    The pre budget announcements were far too precise, down to mentioning Fonterra and Sanitarium as partners.

    The only other reason for the delay was that it would not affect the budget but given the miniscule amounts involved there was no reason for the Government to worry about this.

    • So milk and weet bix? This tackles NZ’s obesity epidemic how? Where is the fresh fruit, the healthy salads? Last I checked every school shop (if you can afford to buy kids lunch at school – which most parents can’t) is filled with junk food and a few basic sandwiches, perhaps a week old frozen apple if you are lucky.

      • Lanthanide 4.1.1

        “Last I checked every school shop … is filled with junk food”

        You can thank National for that. It was one of the first things they changed in 2008 when they won the election. Labour had a healthy food in schools policy that was repealed.

        • kiwicommie 4.1.1.1

          I remember that, National (and/their supporters) called it a ‘nanny-state’ policy, but putting out junk food just encourages kids to eat it. They aren’t adults, young kids and teens don’t have the self-control to not eat junk food, as advertising and every day culture encourages junk over healthy food.

        • Psycho Milt 4.1.1.2

          Labour had a healthy food in schools policy that was repealed.

          Labour imposed a food faddist policy on schools, created by the kind of people who think fruit and salad is a breakfast. Its repeal is among the few things National got right.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.2.1

            It’s a better breakfast than weet-bix.

            My own preference would be for a full cooked meal with fruit and veges. Unfortunately, we’d get some idiots complaining about the costs.

            • Psycho Milt 4.1.1.2.1.1

              It’s a breakfast entirely devoid of protein, so no not better than Weetbix and milk. But it does illustrate nicely the bullshit that nannies get into once they get a government foot in the mealtime door – we saw it with school tuck shops, and we get to see it in this thread, via the various commenters keen to suggest what they’d rather see these kids being given for breakfast.

              Here’s a suggestion for the food faddists: if you want to decide what a kid gets to eat at mealtimes, have a fucking kid.

              • Andrew

                “Here’s a suggestion for the food faddists: if you want to decide what a kid gets to eat at mealtimes, have a fucking kid.”

                love it … +1

              • Macro

                you obviously haven’t… if you think weetbix and milk amounts to a breakfast – for anyone!

              • Draco T Bastard

                It’s a breakfast entirely devoid of protein, so no not better than Weetbix and milk.

                If it had nuts in the salad then it has protein.

                BTW, did you notice my preference? It’s what I have for breakfast. I realised a while back that the average run of the mill cereals are crap.

                • By all means eat what you like. Just grant everyone else the same privilege.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    It’s not about me, it’s about what we’re supplying children in schools. You seem to think that supplying weetbix is wrong because weetbix is crap breakfast. I agree with that.

                    • Er, no. I don’t think supplying Weetbix and milk is wrong because it’s a crap breakfast (it is, but that’s one asshole’s opinion). I think that the government supplying anything at all is wrong, unless they combine it with some measures to actually do something about the problem. This particular piece of the thread is just about highlighting the fact that once nannies have pushed the govt into providing breakfast, the next thing is nannies peddling their opinions on what that breakfast should consist of. I don’t doubt that the appropriate-breakfast enthusiasts could run it all the way down to what haircut the govt should give you or what clothes it should get you to wear, but a lot of people don’t find it an attractive concept.

                • TheContrarian

                  Cereals are crap and pretty bad when it comes to sugars and carbs

              • Colonial Viper

                It’s a breakfast entirely devoid of protein, so no not better than Weetbix and milk.

                You’re an idiot.

              • prism

                Psycho Milt
                You are a bit mixed up – the fuck and the kid don’t come together or even at all.

      • Enough is Enough 4.1.2

        When did you last have a healthy salad for breakfast?

        • kiwicommie 4.1.2.1

          Fruit salad makes a nice breakfast, especially with porridge, just have orange juice or a tea or coffee with it.

          • Anne 4.1.2.1.1

            Except you are all barking up the wrong tree – Psycho M started it. Labour’s policy was for healthy lunch food. Tories don’t really believe in providing a healthy kick start for the children of poor parents. They only do it when they’ve been… shamed into doing something.

            The huge irony: a good few of them were probably the youthful recipients of healthy school lunches back in the 50s and 60s, but they will never admit to it.

            • Anne 4.1.2.1.1.1

              uggh? Half my post has been left out. The additional bit pointed out that food in schools programmes was always part of a decent caring society until a bunch of ideological pratts back in the 80s/90s decided on some vague, esoteric principle that it was the wrong thing to do.

              • In that case, some bastard owes me a shitload of lunches, because no-one apart from my parents and the chip shop were providing them to me when I went to school in the 60s and 70s.

                Labour’s policy was for healthy lunch food.

                Labour’s policy was to impose on schools some food faddists’ opinion of what children should eat. Refusing to participate in that particular piece of authoritarian foolishness is one of the few things National’s got right (they’ve provided plenty of authoritarian foolishness themselves of course, but those are other stories).

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Labour’s policy was to impose on schools some food faddists’ opinion of what children should eat.

                  Nope. It was to ensure that what is bad food was kept out of the tuck shop. Variety would still be there and so the children would still have a choice.

                  • Again: by all means feel free to hold opinions about the respective moral worth of various foods. Just don’t ask the government to inflict them on everyone else.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      You’re paying for the ill-health and lost productivity caused by bad food and bad diet. You may be OK with being such a chump, but I’m not.

                      Further, it’s Government’s role and right to set down safety regulations and limits, so fencing off bad food from schools is nothing more than good practice.

                    • The arguments over which foods are good for you and which aren’t are intense and nowhere near settled. Most of the studies available are about as useful as anything else in the social sciences, ie they’re various flavours of bullshit presented in support of a pre-existing viewpoint, with no scientific merit. There’s certainly nothing on which you could seriously base some kind of “safety regulation.” And even if the moral concept of “bad food” were to accepted as somehow convincingly demonstrated, there’s still nothing wonderful about government officials deciding whether or not you can eat a chocolate bar.

                      As to not wanting to be a chump, by virtue of being a taxpayer you’re forking out for other people’s poor choices with every pay cheque. It doesn’t give you a right to decide whether someone gets to drink V or not, any more than it gives you a right to decide whether they get on a skateboard or not.

            • lprent 4.1.2.1.1.2

              All I ever got was congealed milk in the 60’s and early 70’s…

              • Anne

                That was because your Mum gave you a lunch box full of goodies like… lettuce and cheese sandwiches or lettuce and marmite sandwiches or lettuce and…. plus an orange or an apple or if you were real lucky you got a pear. And if you got really, really lucky some kid took pity on you and swopped a lettuce and whatever sandwich for a jam sandwich.

                In the meantime, my Mum in the 50s did her turn once a week helping to prepare the school lunches for the kids who came to school with no lunch – not that I knew that at the time. As far as I was concerned these kids were the privileged ones cos they got to eat all sorts of yummy stuff (at least that was what my imagination led me to believe) off plates in the cafeteria. It was real mean. The rest of us had to eat mouldy left over ham – and yes lettuce – sandwiches from a tin lunch box.

                • lprent

                  Actually, I can’t remember when I wasn’t making school lunch for myself. And my siblings until I got them trained enough to make their own. My mother was (quite sensibly) starting to retain by going through night school and university by the time I was school age. I can’t remember ever trading food because I always had what I had wanted…

                  I was referring to the quart bottles of sun-congealed milk that were handed out as part of the school milk program 🙂

      • Bramble 4.1.3

        Boxes and boxes of free fruit is delivered to Decile 1 and 2 schools every week. Have you not heard of “fruit in schools” ? Last week the fruit delivered was bananas in the area that I work in, and this week it is pears. More fruit is delivered than could ever be eaten by the school children and the children can help themselves to extra fruit whenever they are hungry. Children can also take home fruit at the end of the day. It is a great initiative that has been running successfully for a number of years.

      • Matthew Hooton 4.1.4

        As Bramble says below, there is already a fruit in schools programme.
        And r0b is probably right that the Nats are divided on this issue. Most people are divided on this issue in the own minds.
        The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell makes a reasonable point: first fruit in schools, then breakfast, then lunch, then clothes …
        And the arguments made on this blog attacking Key/Shearer for saying feeding kids is primarily the responsibility of the parents suggests there is a constituency for the argument that the state, not parents, is primarily responsible for the food, clothing and shelter of kids.
        Next there will be people here arguing that the state is responsible for providing everything on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
        And, if not, what not?

        • McFlock 4.1.4.1

          The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell makes a reasonable point: first fruit in schools, then breakfast, then lunch, then clothes …

          Fuck, no! We’re on a slippery slope to everyone being fed and clothed – what next, housing?! Won’t anyone thing think of the children?!

          [lprent: Fixed the typo that made that last sentence look like a troll trying to look smart. ]

          • Matthew Hooton 4.1.4.1.1

            Societies where the state rather than the private sector tries to provide food, clothing and shelter to their people tend to deliver mass poverty, oppression and murder. Just saying.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.1.4.1.1.1

              Just like in Scandinavia.

              • Matthew Hooton

                Is the state the primary provider of food, clothing and shelter in Scandinavia? News to me.

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  Oh, sorry. What I should have said was:

                  “What a stupid and dishonest mis-characterisation of McFlock’s comment. Where did he state that the state would provide those things? Are you being lying deliberately or as a result of stupidity?”

                  • McFlock

                    “Where did he state that the state would exclusively provide those things?”

                    I think hoots is basically saying that if a school buys cornflakes, then that’s communism. And that’s bunk. Parents are still allowed to feed their kids, or give them lunch money so the kids can acquire type2 diabetes good and early, and so on.

                    But if other kids need food, they get it no matter what.

                    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                      Parents are still allowed to feed their kids, or give them lunch money so the kids can acquire type2 diabetes good and early, and so on.

                      Why does the left hold poor people in such low regard?

                    • Bunji

                      Who said it was poor people wanting to make those diabetes-type choices?

                      It’s generally the well-off that are concerned about “choice”

                    • McFlock

                      Just recalling the menu at the tuck shop and corner dairy in my day

                • KJT

                  Or the State ensuring that incomes, including welfare, are sufficient to feed your children, like Scandinavia, or like New Zealand since Ruth Richardson, ensuring that incomes are insufficient to feed your family, so you keep desperately looking for underpaid or non existent jobs.

            • Anne 4.1.4.1.1.2

              Rubbish Matthew Hooton.

              I described my experience back in the 50s @ 9.38pm. Attempted to introduce a little humour, but the message inherent was that providing food for hungry children has been around for many decades. The schools in question saw a need… acquired the basic food (paid for by the govt. of the day) prepared the lunches… and ensured there was no difference between the children who were well fed and those who weren’t. We were equal in the class-room and we ALL had full bellies.

              In other words, while the pupils were at school the staff were in charge, and they weren’t going to let children go hungry. That is how decent societies behave. The mass poverty, oppression and murder is the result of totalitarian and/or greedy uncivil regimes and has nothing to do with basic kindness and decency. The children in question learn by the example set, and are LESS LIKELY TO TURN INTO CRIMINALS.

          • McFlock 4.1.4.1.2

            cheers at the fix 🙂

        • lprent 4.1.4.2

          …the state is responsible for providing everything on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

          *sigh* Stupid argument. Reverse it…

          We already make the state directly or indirectly (ie via the courts in everything from criminal law to torts) responsible for air, water, and food quality and probably several other parts of the pyramid. Are you suggesting that it should not be?

          Of course there is always the Somalia holiday experience…. Or the inverse Holiday in (1970’s) Cambodia experience.

          Silly dog whistling is such a IQ delineating and defining thing to do.

          • Matthew Hooton 4.1.4.2.1

            Big difference between the state regulating the safety of water, food, shelter and clothing and the state providing it. The former delivers benefits (as you point out with the Somalia and Cambodia examples) but provision by the state has been, well, a bit unsuccessful.

            • vto 4.1.4.2.1.1

              It is not about the state doing it, or the government doing it, it is about society ensuring that its inhanitants and our neighbours have enough to eat. I don’t want to live in a society where some of our neighbours kids go hungry and I’m sure you don’t either Hoots.

              Society attends to this via government, that is all. It is society caring for its own and the government is merely the conduit.

              And society as a whole (via govt) needs to do this because the other way of ensuring that all people in our society have enough to eat, namely the individualistic free market and all that bullshit, has not worked.

              It is pretty fucking simple simple.

              If the individualistic free market had worked like we were all promised then this problem wouldn’t exist.

              comprehendez vous?

              (p.s. I reckon Hoots is going to defect soon…)

              edit: and I also meant to say that this idea that feeding the family is primarily the parents responsibility is deceiving. I would suggest that the responsibility rests with society as a whole as well – almost as much as the parent. Picture a small pre-history tribe and one set of parents struggle to feed the kids. Do you imagine the other tribes members simply let them go hungry? Eh? ‘Cause that’s what you’re saying.

            • Colonial Viper 4.1.4.2.1.2

              but provision by the state has been, well, a bit unsuccessful.

              With 48M people in the USA needing food stamps, and youth unemployment over 50% in several European countries, it sure looks like asking the private sector to provide satisfactory jobs and incomes has been, well, a bit unsuccessful.

            • lprent 4.1.4.2.1.3

              …but provision by the state has been, well, a bit unsuccessful.

              The obvious response to that is the provision by the local or national governments of such things as (just of the top of my head and because I just finished coding and it is after midnight)..

              1. sewerage systems – how to kill a lot of diseases and stop them killing everyone rather indiscriminately. Which was great if you were an undertaker but pretty damn bad if you were collecting taxes.

              2. medical provision to those of limited means – kill more diseases by destroying the reservoirs. Makes the population more healthy, productive, and taxable

              3. road and rail systems – there has never been fully private provision of these on any scale in any modern state. Where they aren’t directly provided by government, then they’re massively propped by by state legislation and/or state provision of cheap funds. Looking at the financing of toll roads in places like the US operate is an education in pork-barrelling. The reason that the state provisions them is because of the beneficial effects it has on businesses and of course the tax take.

              wide-spread education, water system, power transmission lines, telegraph cables, airports, etc etc etc. You’ll find that almost all of these were largely setup by governments provisioning them in one manner or another. Could be anything from shifting laws to direct provision.

              Ensuring that kids have decent food while they’re in their growth phase is exactly the same dynamic as 1 and 2. It is essentially a public health measure because it eliminates a disease vector, ensures that kids grow up healthier and more productive, and eventually increases the tax take…

              It isn’t a negative sum game for society as a whole. Quite simply there are quite a lot of things that governments provide because they benefit all of society, and almost invariably you’ll also find that they ultimately increase the tax take.

              It doesn’t matter if it is Colbert’s France or modern NZ, you’ll find that decadal structural infrastructure including caring for populations pays off. And forget the caring part. It is often done because far-sighted people in government can see that it will ultimately increase the tax take because the benefits over decades are higher than the costs..

              You’d have to have the myopic vision of a businessman thinking only in the short-term, a congentially inadequete understanding of history, or have a religious level of political ideological stupidity to not know that all governments have always provisioned services because they make economic sense over the longer term than a business owner or managerial frame of reference…..

              Ummmm – ok I just described National’s supporters again didn’t I…. I really should not fling their basic inadequacies and incompetency in the face ALL of the time.

              • You were doing well until you got to this bit:

                Ensuring that kids have decent food while they’re in their growth phase is exactly the same dynamic as 1 and 2.

                Several things wrong here:

                1. It’s not the same dynamic. It makes no sense to expect individual citizens to implement their own sewerage disposal system or disease prevention programme, but the expectation that individual parents will feed their own children is a perfectly reasonable one. In fact, removing that expectation would make things worse for children, not better.

                2. We already have a comprehensive social welfare system in place to ensure that kids have decent food while they’re in their growth phase (which is basically the entire time they’re a child). Apparently, an increasing number of parents fail to feed their children despite this social welfare system (or the deadbeats involved are having an increasing number of children), but doing something about that involves a bit more than the government taking over feeding them, especially since hunger is generally only one aspect of the neglect they’re experiencing.

                3. Even if we were to accept for the sake of argument that it were the same dynamic, the evidence seems to show that dishing out food in schools has little beneficial effect outside of Third World countries, in which malnutrition rather than hunger was the problem. According to Eric Crampton, the studies he looked at showed that some of these programmes didn’t even raise the number of kids eating breakfast. Personally, I suspect the reason they don’t achieve anything much is that they do nothing to address the actual problem, which is pointed out in 2 above. And neither Mana nor National seems to be offering any attempt to address it.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  …but the expectation that individual parents will feed their own children is a perfectly reasonable one.

                  Not really. Societies have always provided for their constituents and, yes, put rules around that supply. You seem to be hung up on the Thatcherite there is no society BS.

                  In fact, removing that expectation would make things worse for children, not better.

                  No, it will make them better off because the children will grow up knowing that they live in a caring society.

                  We already have a comprehensive social welfare system in place to ensure that kids have decent food while they’re in their growth phase

                  No we don’t. If we did then there wouldn’t be any children going hungry.

                  Personally, I suspect the reason they don’t achieve anything much is that they do nothing to address the actual problem,

                  Or they’re just doing it wrong as suggested up thread.

        • Bunji 4.1.4.3

          Yeah, because Food in Schools is the point that tipped the balance in the US of A, and they’ve been a murderous communist regime ever since…

          Slippery slope arguments are just so facile where the public have to approve each step of the way. If say, you gave the government the power to suspend pretty much all law just so they could get a few planning decisions a bit faster and the public never got another say on what King Gerry did, sure, slippery slope away. But approving $9.5 million of funding for food in schools is dangerous because we’re about to become a communist society? Srsly Matthew, you can do better.

          Interesting study on the uptake and effectiveness of food in schools on health and eduction of kids in USA, UK, Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, Chile, Brazil, Germany, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Finland and Australia. Just a cross-section of countries that already do such things because it’s such an out-there idea that this might be good for future society…

          (Surely a right-winger such as yourself can see the inefficiency of hundreds of thousands of parents making lunches each morning, when they could be bulk-created by a more productive specialist? Won’t someone think of the productivity gains? The business opportunities?)

  5. bad12 5

    Crumbs off the Tory table for vulnerable Kiwi kids in this instance i will accept with a small modicum of grace rather than the spit in the face for the Slippery little Shyster such crumbs in all reality warrant,

    There is no reason why Mana, Labour and the Green Party’s should accept such crumbs brushed from the over-indulged Tory table as anywhere near a comprehensive ‘food in schools’ program of such efficacy so as to guarantee the nutrition of all Kiwi kids attending our schools…

  6. One Anonymous Knucklehead 6

    This is a wet policy, no doubt.

  7. Matthew 7

    This is simply a half-assed attempt for the Right to take something else off the Left. If left to their own devices, I think some of our National cabinet would baulk at the idea of feeding their own kids, let alone someone elses.

  8. ianmac 8

    In many schools the milk could be used for milo/cocoa lunches for the hungry as well. We used to eat weetbix as a biscuit covered in butter and marmite. So maybe the wonderful gift from National could be stretched a bit further?

  9. ianmac 9

    Mr Key fronted up on Cambell Live last night. I suspect that he might have wanted to be a bit more generous than the $1.9mil. The miserly amount is sure grist for the likes of Hone to really let strip. National might have been wiser to do either nothing, or do a great deal more. Next year it will cover all decile schools.
    Queen Charlotte College surveyed their parents and 97% said No to food help. The 3 % who said yes were perhaps those who were in real need. Does the majority represent true and fair understanding?

  10. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 10

    Breakfast is only the beginning. Lunch next. Then dinner. Before you know it the State will be in charge of brunch. Make mine pancakes thanks, Hone.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      if the private sector refuses to create decent paying jobs, then it’s up to the state to pick up their shortfall.

  11. KJT 11

    I think it is more that National’s own polling showed that meanness to children is not popular. Even with their own supporters.

  12. mac1 12

    What a pretty pass we’ve come to when a misreading of a headline seems perfectly in order.

    “Nats spit on food in schools.”

  13. millsy 13

    Hooton, do you think the school dental service should be closed down?

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