Feed the Kids Bill fails to gain Government support

By Maiki Sherman

Parliament has debated the Feed the Kids Bill, however, it won't pass the first reading as it’s failed to gain support from the Government.

The Bill is being led by Metiria Turei in the absence of Hone Harawira, and despite the axe hovering over the Bill, Metiria Turei visited Windley School in Porirua today to showcase the issue.

The 'Feed the Kids Bill' was debated in the house and John Key was on defence.

Prime Minister John Key says, “Yes there is an issue where some children come to school without lunch.  Mr Speaker, that number is relatively low.

Every child was given a raincoat so I actually asked about 20 of the kids, do you own a raincoat? Every single child told me yes.”

Metiria Turei says, “No child is going to tell a stranger, let alone the Prime Minister, what their life is really like.  How could they possibly expose themselves or their families to even more shame and ridicule.”

Jacinda Ardern says, “What is the Prime Minister doing standing up and individually questioning children on whether or not they can get school lunches or have a raincoat to wear to school?”

Around 60 children at Windley School are fed breakfast every morning, and the principal says it's a similar number for children without lunch.

Rhys McKinley says, “There's breakfast on every morning at 7.30 - 8.30 and children just turn up.  Some parents turn up and have a kai with their whanau and so it makes it more of a family atmosphere and no pressure on them to be embarrassed for having no breakfast in the morning.”

The aim of the Feed the Kids Bill is to set up a government funded breakfast and lunch programme in all decile 1 and 2 schools.

Metiria Turei says, “I invited John Key to come to Windley School this morning and to do exactly this with the kids so he could see the need himself, he refused.  If he doesn't see how important it is of course he won't understand why I keep asking him to support the Bill.”

Looking at the votes the Bill is destined to fail.  National, Act and United Future are against it.  The Bill would cost $100 million per year.

Peter Dunne says, “It's the cost and the fact that we have a viable scheme in place already.”

David Seymour says, “I would say that in general from a Māori perspective, top down centralised solutions have never been very good for them.”

The focus now will be on Labour's Food in Schools Bill.

The issue will certainly be food for thought.