We can afford the NZSO but make teachers buy kids food


School staff in the Waikato are forking out their own food and money so students don’t go hungry, according to new research into school food programmes in the region.

One low decile school reported half of its children were arriving hungry each week, while others said a lack of access to good food was causing high non-attendance rates because kids were getting sick.

Poverty Action Waikato researcher Anna Cox has been looking at food provision in the region’s schools since March in an effort to “break the cycle” of child poverty and encourage more schools to introduce food programmes.

“It became apparent that something needs to be done around food, and schools are a great resource in that way for a community.”

Anyone attending the NZSO, with their minimum subsidy of $160 per seat, should think about the poor unfortunates who go to school unfed, and whether the $160 minimum subsidy would be better spent on kids being fed as they kick back and enjoy state funded kultur.


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  • On this one I disagree with you Cam. The buck stops with the parents of the children. If schools etc continue to hand out charity such as this, there will be no sanction of the parents who prioritise spending on other things over feeding their kids.

    I respect the teachers for trying to help, but in a perverse way, they are actually rewarding parents who send their kids to school hungry.

    • niggly

      If the authorities and go-gooders out there could work together, there’s potential to teach these kids about (real) priorities and that food is more imporant (than booze, ciggies, beating the missus and gambling etc), how to grow food, how to cook on a lean budget etc. Like one of those generational reversal things, where the kids rebel against their lazy no good for nothing parents, as they get older and learn about responsibility and not hand outs etc.Wishful thinking perhaps, but why not?

    • SJ00

      I’m with Inventory2 here, feeding the kids gives the parents an excuse not to feed them themselves. That gives them more money to do whatever with (not necessarily smokes, drugs, booze, but maybe petrol for the car etc). I would almost bet that any parent that has an unfed child isn’t themselves going without food. Agree with a comment below, the parents should be hauled into court for child abuse.

      Linking this to the NZSO is pretty poor. There are a million programs that the govt also doesn’t need to be paying for. Singling one out is dare I say it, Labour like. Should we be subsidizing the NZSO, thats another story, most likely not. Linking it to children going hungry, thats pretty poor and made up. I’m pretty sure the people going to the NZSO are most likely among the biggest charity donators in NZ. Should they be funding their own leisure/pleasures, yes. But I bet they help out more than the parents of these kids.

      • Teachersrock

        And I say again, do we just let the kids starve?

      • SJ00

        @94b412eb0962d1b251a6b4d2c27b6fc4:disqus- Missing a meal isn’t going to kill you. Miss a few meals, the first thing you do is call CYFS or the police and report the parents. Kids get removed and put into a real family or care, and then they get fed. Parent go to jail and also get fed. Problem solved.

        Is there a list kept of what kids are turning up to school not being fed? The problem here teachersrock, is you see a problem, and you solve it short term (by feeding the kids). No follow up. No punishment for the parents. No responsibility.

        If I starved a dog and the SPCA rock up, I get done for animal abuse. Banned from owning an animal for ten years. Fined, and can even go to jail. Seems you don’t fed a child and you get rewarded by a) nothing happening and b) someone else feds your kid. Lesson learned? Stuff feeding my kids.

    • Teachersrock

      And what are we to do? Let the children starve? 

      I don’t think so. Yes in a way we are rewarding the parents by picking up the slack, but what else are we meant to do?

      And you know what, it is the same people who will be praising us for doing this, who will be condemning us with the next breath for something else. 

      • Travis Poulson

        And you know what, it is the same people who will be praising us for doing this, who will be condemning us with the next breath for something else. ”

        Well yea, One positive action doesn’t grant immunity sorry. Tough world huh. 

      • Teachersrock

        How typical of you Travis to misrepresent the truth about teachers. 

      • Travis Poulson

        Oh do tell me Teachersrock, which “truth about teachers” I am so typically misrepresenting?

      • parorchestia

         Feed ’em AND report the parents.

  • gazzaw

    Waikato teachers don’t have it on their own, teachers nationwide fork out on a regular basis to provide tucker for hungry kids. I don’t necessarily see it as the sole domain of music lovers to fill the economic gap and the burden could be shared by reduced government funding for other perceived ‘rich prick’ recreations such as art, yachting, motor sport, horse racing etc.

    I wouldn’t totally knock the concept of classical music WO. One has only to look at the excellent & quite revolutionary work done by the El Sistema Orchestra over the last four years in Sterling, Scotland. The story is well worth reading and the lessons have obviously been absorbed by Owen Glenn who plans to replicate the Sterling story in his recovery plans for Otara.  

  • Andrewo

    So is it impossible to makes ends meet on welfare or is it just that in some cases the money is heading to the boozer?

    I will believe there is real poverty (as opposed to self imposed poverty) when state houses have vegetable gardens at the back.

    • kowtow

      Veges out the back should actually be normal ,not a sign of poverty.

      And schoolhould be telling the welfare wallahs if kids aren’t being fed. That’s child abuse way more than a discipline smack is.

  • MrV

    There would be no harm in the NZSO having commercial fundraising targets to meet over time so as to ease the burden on the taxpayer. I’m sure they are worth it from commercial point of view.
    And this already looks to be somewhat the case:

    It would be interesting to know if when they travel overseas if they play in destinations where they actually receive the most cash from a paying audience to perform or if they perform in places for other reasons.

    As for parents not feeding kids, it’s time for the family court to hold some hearings on these people. Perhaps its time for a court appointed payments administrator to set priorities for these families, as much as I detest state involvement, at a certain point it become untenable.

    As Inventory2 has said, incentives matter. If you get free food from the school, thats more money for booze and ciggies aye.

  • Johnboy

    I thought Tainui got enough handouts from the rest of us to feed their brood?

    Maybe we need to give them more cash?

    • Travis Poulson


  • Fergus

    Wonder how many of these kid’s parents, have sky, go to the pub every weekend, have new cloths, drive a nice car, DVD players etc etc…but their kids don’thave food?????????

    • parorchestia

       And lie in bed until the party starts again, having kicked the kids out the door to go to school…..

  • Phronesis

    Irony is belonging to a teachers union, that props up a Labour party, that traps people in poverty by paying them to be useless, that results in the kids not getting fed. 

    Of course there is an obvious answer to this that has already been put forward by National. FOODSTAMPS.

    So will the teachers and their union and hence their party be supporting this National policy. No. because they don’t really give a damn about the kids they are just using them.

  • gazzaw

    I totally agree with all of the sentiments expressed re Sky dishes, money spent at the pub, casino, lotto, drugs, ciggies BUT those kids are still coming to school hungry FFS. We can cut the benefits, provide food vouchers in lieu of cash, close the casinos, hang drug dealers and triple the price of booze but it just ain’t going to help those kids short term. Like it or not we need to feed them or unnecessary hunger will just another ongoing inter generational problem. Hungry kids don’t learn that well either.

    • Callum

      Kids coming to school hungry should be taken off their parents by CYFS for neglect.

      • Travis Poulson

        They should Callum, you’re quite right, but a certain crowd would start crying racism, get their knickers in a twist and tell the government to stay out of their affairs. Nevermind the fact they avoid tackling the big problems in their own society, it will be followed by a demand for a special welfare policy the extend the gravy train tracks in other directions, then probably passed into law.

        Or, people could just take responsibility for their families and their welfare (no, not taxpayer funded welfare, caring for the circumstance of their kids).

        I’ve never been able to understand how people can neglect/abuse their children like this and not put a thought into it or feel an ounce of guilt, child abuse comes in many forms, and not just the physical striking of a child.

        Sending a child to school hungry and without shoes is straight up child abuse. There is no excuse for it.

      • Phronesis

        The remarkable thing Travis is that this is what welfare does to people.In times of famine and war parents still feed their children first, but in times of welfare it’s someone else’s problem.

      • Teachersrock

        People wanting to give kids to CYFS need their heads read. 

      • Travis Poulson

        Teachersrock having a little trouble reading there. Nobody said anything about “wanting to give kids to CYFS”. He said the kids should be taken off the parents for neglect. I guess your solution is to leave them in the family’s self inflicted poverty? Some people aren’t cut out to be parents, and don’t deserve to be. 

        No question about it.

      • GregM

         I would suggest the children should be placed with a non-whanau foster home for a time. Also deduct all child related top ups from the benny since they no longer have kids to feed, and watch how quickly they would sort their shit out.

        Feeding and caring for the kids properly must be priority number one, and it is clear some dip shits can’t get their head around the concept.

        Good on the teachers for doing the right thing, lots of respect from me.

      • Teachersrock

        Your comment Travis betrays your limited knowledge of CYFS. 

        Given their history where the care of kids are concerned, the children would be safer in the hands of a rabid dog than CYFS, 

      • Teachersrock

        Greg, I agree that there are cases where kids have to be removed, and your suggestion is a far better one than putting children’s lives in danger by giving them to CYFS. 

      • Travis Poulson

        Bullshit it does Teachersrock . My point was you didn’t offer a better solution. Also you’re under the assumption that all CYFS caregivers are a danger to kids, a dumb assumption. Am I to assume all teachers are hopeless if I know of several bad ones? 

        Don’t attack someone elses opinion if you don’t have a better solution to offer.

        “Your comment Travis betrays your limited knowledge of CYFS.” Good grief. I’m off to bed, feel free to toss around some more idiotic assumptions in my absence. 

      • GregM

        I have personal experience with this lot. I have been a sool dad for 12 years.
        In the early days CYPFS did everything that they could to split up my daughter and myself. Barnardos were the opposite, and I have acknowleg them in

      • Teachersrock

        Nice rant there Travis, but you just look like a fool. 

        You have clearly been living under a rock when it comes to the harm CYFS have caused. They have placed children with druggies, kiddie fiddlers, family members who have ended up killing the children, and as you can see there are people on this very board who have seen the true side of CYFS. 

        Perhaps before you defend a Government organisation who are widely known to cause harm to the kids they are meant to protect, you go find out a little about them. 

        Oh and as for misrepresenting the truth about teachers, I have seen your comments about our work habits, holidays, abilities, and you are either a liar or a fool. I have yet to figure out which one. 

  • not happy days

    fun aside you guys we’ve got to get serious about the auckland council

  • 1souvlaki

    Are you taking the piss with this post, or is your Lithium level getting low ?

  • Arnie

    90 of the so called “hungry kids”  are hungry because of the lack of parental responsibility. I see daily cigarettes, wine etc and nothing that is substantial for the kids in the supermarket trolleys. This is the norm, not the exception in certain areas.

    • Travis Poulson

      Often on my way home after work I stop in the bottle store to pick up a few beers, the ones that haven’t been at work but are picking up their hard earned welfare treats stand out like dogs balls. It rather pisses me off, and I do my best to look at them like scum that they are, especially the ones that bring their bare footed kids in with them. What a great example to be setting. 

      It’s one thing witnessing bludgers blowing our tax money on piss, but it’s another thing seeing the kids that are missing out because of their selfish parents.

      • Tamati

        I was yarning to a Bottle Store owner in our area one time who said that from opening time in the morning through to around 3.00pm, all he sold was Purple Goana’s.   From 4.00pm onwards it was Lion Red and DB Export…       

      • Mediaan

        Purple Goanna was new to me, so I looked it up.

        For the benefit of any others who are unfamiliar with this alcoholic RTD that has fluorescent labels you can take off and wear, should you wish to boast of consuming it, it is a purple bottled drink that looks and tastes like fruity soda.

        Independent Liquor are the moral turds who market this product. They say proudly it has gained popularity in the 20-25 year market (prime age for benefit parents) in our society.

        It’s moments like this I think nostalgically of the days when boiling miscreants in oil was a possibility.

  • Mediaan

    It is highly unlikely any household with a kid in it is getting less than $450 week. The government tops up lower incomes. Some are getting near a thousand a week.

    Take $100 per need child away, after three adverse events. Give money to a feeding centre, and give the kids in the family an entry pass to it.

    Replace it with staples for the parent/s. I suggest:
    Per month, per parent, one sack rice, one bag onions, one cabbage, 5kg flour, 2kg sugar, tea bags.

  • GregM

    Why is it the kids that are not getting fed properly always seem to have fat parents?

    Priorities perchance?

    • Travis Poulson

      I’m dobbing you in to Cat Pause GregM, you stepped over the mark. Show the damn fatties some love will you. 

  • nzd.gbp

    I’d much rather the government took my hard earned tax dollars and spent them on something as wonderful as classical music than subsidise those feckless idiots who think it’s our job to look after their kids. Classical music is not some elitist rich prick art form. If you think that then you’re a bogan. It is the pursuit of musical excellence and a celebration of some of the most incredible and insightful composers who have ever existed and is a testament to the miracle that is the creative human. This is exactly what we should be celebrating and striving for, not diverting that resource to something as banal and degenerate as the careless parent. If they aren’t performing their duty of care toward their kids then deal with that by sending them to child abusers prison and giving them a child abusers criminal record, take the kids and give them to a couple on the very long list of those wanting to adopt and stop the cycle in it’s tracks. 

    • GregM

       100% agree,nzd.gbp.

      The $30 m or so spent operating the NZSO is a spit in the bucket in welfare terms, and the only improvement you would notice is increased sales of Woodstocks, ciggies and lotto tickets.
      What a lot of people don’t seem to realise is that playing most orchestra instruments to that level is incredibly difficult, we don’t have enough musicians of that calibre in NZ, which is why there is some imports in the NZSO.

      They need to do smaller performances more often and raise ticket prices.

      • nzd.gbp

        I just hate this notion that we can’t afford great art or music because some bludger whines about having made a bed they don’t want to sleep in. What’s the end result from spending on these social justice programs? I bet it’s not the eradication of laziness and irresponsibility, and it’s certainly not fostering the higher arts. These musicians are gifted and extremely hard working. We can’t all be as talented as they are and instead of hating them for it, we should marvel and be grateful that someone is that good and we can hear them, for the cost of a few hours work.

      • Callum

        So you think your choice in music is worthy of subsidy but not someone elses choice? Would love a subsidy on my Metallica or AC DC tickets.

  • Brian Smaller

    If you have four kids to feed each week then a big bag of porridge oats (not those sachet ones but the 3kg plain pack ones), some brown sugar and a few litres of milk. There are breakfasts for the week. Kids don’t need to drink milk like they do coke. 250ml a day is heaps. A glass and some on their porridge.

    These teachers are just encouraging the parents not to feed their kids. “Nah, you can get a feed at school.” 

    As an aside I used to see primary kids going to school at my local Decile 3 school
    in the Hutt – many of them would have some cash to go to the dairy on
    the way to school and have a nice healthy can of soft drink and packet
    of chippies.

    • Mediaan

      You are assuming the parents are vertical at that hour, not sleeping off booze. Might the unemployed thrust a hand out of pocket with five dollars in it, rather than get up, wash, and cook.

      Teach the kids to make porridge at school, not feed them?

  • Rockyr

    Teachers forking out to give kids a second breakfast………No we know whats causing the obesity problem.