200,000 more Kiwi kids to receive free school lunches

By Te Ao - Māori News

The free and healthy school lunch programme is set for a major expansion with the announcement of 200,000 more Kiwi kids getting a free school lunch.

The programme will be funded through the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

Families across Aotearoa have been hit hard during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there's an urgent need for support.

“A full stomach makes all the difference to a child’s learning, so we have moved quickly to fund a major expansion of the school lunch programme – which will also create jobs."

She explains that the programme will grow from feeding nearly 8000 to around 200,000 students in schools with the highest disadvantage by Terms 2-3 in 2021.

“Providing a free and healthy lunch at school is one way to help make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child and to make that difference immediately,” Ardern says.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins says $216.7 million in operating and $3.9 million in capital expenditure has been allocated over the next two years to fund the expansion.

Minister for Children Tracey Martin said that providing the lunches had a direct benefit to the children and their local communities.

“This is another way of helping these families and school communities at a time when every extra bit of assistance is important.”