I like David Shearer, he is a thinker…and sometimes he really says some very good things.
Why on earth he didn’t do these sort of thing when he was leader.
The impression that the Labour caucus and union movement had David Shearer’s balls in a rat trap when he was leader grows stronger by the day.
He is showing a streak of independence now.
There’s no doubt that New Zealand has a poverty problem and many of our children go to school without breakfast. That hinders their learning.
At the moment, charities and corporate sponsors are stepping up to deliver free food to poorer schools for those children.
Is this the best way to address the problem? I used to think it was.
But last year I visited Yendarra School. It serves a decile 1A community in Otara, making it one of the poorest primary schools in the country – yet they have said ‘no’ to government food hand outs.
Why? Because Yendarra has worked hard, in partnership with their families, to develop a school culture that values good nutrition. And, they’ve achieved healthy lunches for 100% of their children: fruit, vegetables, sandwiches and milk.
You can see the wellness in the children’s faces. Obesity levels are down, and the ability of the children to concentrate on their work in class is up.
If they can achieve those results in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in New Zealand, I believe any school should be able to do it.
That’s why I’m looking for all political parties to support my Food In Schools Bill that will come before Parliament in the next few weeks. Through many conversations with parents, doctors, teachers, school principals and schoolchildren themselves, I have become convinced that free food solves nothing.
I now believe that each school community should be resourced to find and deliver its own long-term food solutions.
We should be supporting schools to teach children the lifelong skills of self-sufficiency, nutrition and gardening that our parents and grandparents knew well. Somehow those skills seem to have skipped a generation, but our children deserve to have a chance at self-reliance.
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