Government to extend Kickstart with Fonterra and Sanitarium help


The government has announced an extension of the Fonterra and Sanitarium KickStart programme with additional funding, extending the programme from twice a week to every school day of the week.

The Government will put up $9.5 million over the next five years to allow Fonterra and Sanitarium to expand school breakfast programmes to five days a week for all schools that need it – but the companies will have to fund the rest of the estimated $19 million cost of that expansion themselves.

Prime Minister John Key announced the funding as part of the Government’s response to a report on child poverty by an expert advisory group set up by the Childrens’ Commissioner.

No doubt critics will decry this as Tory charity, preferring instead to see the government stump up all the cash. This is why Sanitarium is able to maintain its charity status despite the best efforts of critics to try to shut them down.

Sanitarium issued the following press release.

Fonterra and Sanitarium today welcomed the Government’s support for their KickStart Breakfast programme.

KickStart Breakfast, now in its fifth year, currently provides breakfasts of Anchor Milk and Weet-Bix twice a week to children in more than 570 decile one to four schools around New Zealand. This amounts to 48,000 breakfasts every week, with almost 5 million breakfasts served to date.

With the Government’s support of up to $1.9 million per year, the programme will be extended to five days a week, with a view to gradually rolling it out to all schools that want and need the programme.

Pierre van Heerden, General Manager of Sanitarium, said: “KickStart Breakfast is strongly supported by schools and local communities. Along with our partner Fonterra, we provide breakfasts twice a week, but increasingly, schools are telling us that they’d like to offer the programme every school day due to the needs of their students. 

“Our partnership with the Government to join us in funding an extended programme will, I’m sure, be welcomed by all involved.”

Carly Robinson, Fonterra Group General Manager Global Co-operative Responsibility, said feedback from schools is that the nutrition provided to students through KickStart Breakfast has positive impacts in the classroom and children would benefit greatly from a five-day-a-week programme.

“KickStart Breakfast is a programme aimed at providing nourishment to children that need it most. It’s helping to give kids a boost to both their school day and their future by ensuring they have a healthy start and a full stomach to keep them alert in the classroom,” said Ms Robinson.

KickStart Breakfast is run as a community partnership, meaning Fonterra and Sanitarium provide the product, while the local school and community manage the breakfast itself.

“This partnership approach allows schools to run the clubs in their own way. In fact, almost half the clubs are run by people from the schools’ local communities.

“It’s important to acknowledge the support of these amazing volunteers, teachers and local community groups, who are actively running their breakfast clubs. Without these people, the programme wouldn’t be possible,” Ms Robinson said.

Fonterra and Sanitarium said the KickStart Breakfast programme aligns well with their philosophies and values, with both organisations already involved in several initiatives aimed at helping Kiwi kids reach their potential.

“Fonterra is committed to caring for the communities in which we live and work. In particular, we want our kids to grow up strong and healthy, which is why we have supported this programme for more than four years,” said Ms Robinson.

On Sanitarium’s involvement, Mr van Heerden said: “Sanitarium genuinely cares for the health, hope and happiness of every person. KickStart is not only about breakfast, it also provides a space for children to develop social and life skills in a “club” environment. Through KickStart Breakfast and our other programmes, we’re able to make a real and lasting difference in our communities.”


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  • Whilst I have misgivings about parents who make bad choices being let off the hook, it’s not a kid’s fault if he/she gets packed off to school hungry. This policy strikes a sensible balance.

    • LinkinHawk

      The kids that are going to school and having brekky should be documented, so those kids parents can be investigated as to why they are not feeding there children, and have there benefits cut accordingly

      • BJ

        To coin a phrase “There is no such thing as a free lunch” and as such household information should be gathered for feedback, study and accountability – otherwise assessment of this scheme won’t be able to be qualified

      • Mediaan

        No, because the parents will tell their kids not to accept it or they’ll get thumped. So the worst home kids would miss out.

        I was having those sort of ideas too, like, “Then get a prison worker detachment to visit all the homes and kickstart any adults still prone and asleep out of their beds to wake them.”

        • le sphincter

          Considering the money the govt is coughing up wouldnt even match the funding they give to the poor starving buggers at Kings college, each and every year , and its been rising

          Who knew they were such a hotbed of need ?

          • Ronnie Chow

            You will be rich in heaven , poor man .

          • jcpry

            The cost to the government of educating a child at Kings is way less that the cost of educating a child at a Decile 1 school.

          • Mediaan

            Selective aren’t you. If there is any merit in this argument, give us the figures, or a link to a site where all payments to all schools are carefully compared.

    • James

      I have no problems with schools providing breakfast or lunch; indeed I remember my school lunches and breakfasts in the UK when I was a primary school kid with great fondness.
      What should happen though is that the parents should pay for the meals – if they are on benefit then that is what it is there for; and if they aren’t then their kids shouldn’t be entitled to being fed by the generosity of their neighbours.

      • jcpry

        Was this well before Jamie Oliver pointed out that the school meals are by and large fatty crap?

        • Mediaan

          Not in some places. Yes in some.

          Apparently in France they are nourishing three course affairs, where the kids are also required to sit nicely and hold their knife and fork properly and display good manners to each other. In other words a lesson.

    • There is one important question that has yet to be answered: Can a truant (truancy being the first step towards exiting the school system without an adequate education) still get breakfast after 9am?

      • Patrick

        How can you expel/suspend a pupil if it means they will go without breakfast? The education system will be caned for causing starvation/deprivation.

        • A “shift of responsibility from parent to government” issue that I hadn’t thought of! God help the first school that is put in that position.

    • Farrar likes the tone of this policy too. But then his script was probably faxed to him from the 9th floor. Interestingly, over 85% of the commentators on his site disagree with him.

  • The other Neil

    and for some analysis and comment on whether studies show it actually does anything –

  • ozbob68

    Make it available for free, but make the parents consciously apply for it and means tested. That way they acknowledge their involvement in the process and don’t get a guilt-free ride.

    • Anonymouse Coward

      I have a better idea to motivate parents to feed their children.

      Send out a circular that each child fed will be sent home after school with an espresso and a free puppy.

      • ozbob68

        I take your tongue-in-cheek response as intended, but if they can’t feed a kid, what chance does a puppy have (apart from it having better advocacy services, rights and support agencies)?

        • Patrick

          Feed the puppy, when it matures it can be eaten by the said starving children – win win.

  • AnonWgtn

    Listening to a teacher this morning and a child advocate discussing the teacher’s comments that some children, after breakfast, fall asleep in class.
    The comment made was that probably the child had a bag of chips, and a bottle of Coke for their tea. Their sleeping habits are not good after effectively dosing on fat and sugars, consequent upon a school nutritional breakfast with a full stomach they fall asleep, effectively catching up on the lost sleep from the night before.
    And so on.
    What will happen in the school holidays ?

    • Maccas have a fantastic WeightWatchers-approved breakfast menu for the under-nourished and irregular. In fact, I heard on the grape vine that the Golden Arches want to get involved in this scheme too! “Will young sir wish to upsize his fries with his order of Hunger-Buster porridge, hash brown and soft-serve?”

  • rockape

    Good to see Mana claiming credit for this already!

  • Jimmie

    Bludging farmers. How dare they give away free milk to poor kids.

    Oh and what about the evils of subsidies? Surely the private sector and the government subsidizing useless parents is a real evil to rail against.

    Hmmm a tune changer is our WO

    • Patrick

      Flaps in the breeze at times.

    • James

      Nothing wrong with the private sector subsidising people – it is simply an advertising budget item. Since my kids started getting Fontera supplied milk in school we’ve had to buy an extra 3l bottle of milk a week due to them drinking more of it – and I’m sure Fonterra know that their costs will be, at least in part, outweighed by this sort of thing.

    • onelaw4all

      “Oh and what about the evils of subsidies? Surely the private sector and the government subsidizing useless parents is a real evil to rail against.”

      No and yes.

  • rockape

    This is Nationals best investment ever. Not only does it feed hungry kids,it pulls the teath from Labour the greens and Maori, All for the cost of keeping a deaf green mp in parliament for a few years,Bargain!

    • LabTested

      $9.5m to feed the kids. this is what Labour spent on ‘Sing-along’ radio courses as part of their education spend.

  • spollyike

    Can i complain to the HRC? My child is going to be discriminated against at a decile 10 school. Why should what school you go to determine whether you get fed by the government or not?

    • Mediaan

      Yep. Greens will headline their next petition,
      “Stop school holiday starvation of neediest kids in poverty”.
      Eager fattish middle-class ladies of 58 will man the stalls in every High St, smiling and pen-wielding as you try to pass.

    • Complain directly to Fonterra. They should not be allowed to avoid their responsibilities to the decile 10s. The least they could do is provide scalded milk for the Year 13s’ flat whites.

    • Chad Chambers

      Means testing is perfectly reasonable.

      • rockape

        Careful what you wish for ,They are all on benefit evenif employed and on low wage. I am sure most cases whould show mony being spent on other priorities eg car sky, booze cigs, drugs before its spent on food. Most cases its lazyness. How much does it cost to give a kid weetbizx and milk 7 days a week, my guess is less than the cost of one pint!

        • Chad Chambers

          Yeah but some days the money just runs out. I wouldn’t know which kids’ parents are spending their food money on alcohol and which are not. Winter is especially difficult because power bills increase by about 300% for these families but wages do not increase at all. It’s an especially tough time.

          • rockape

            Yes it most runs out after the first big piss up, why should taxpayers pick up the tab!

          • rockape

            So the problem is these people are too dumb to budget. Funny how pensioners seem to manage, but when your young enough to party budget is the last thing on your mind. Why, because you know you can bleat and someone will pay, or there will be the food banmk so at least you got some fun with your mates so its OK Bro!

          • Chad Chambers

            Just who are “these people” you speak of? Not every struggling person is a piss-head. I’d say most struggling people are not. They simply do not have the tools or skills to cope well with the society we have created.

          • onelaw4all

            These “people” we speak of are the ones that are sending their kids to school hungry.

            “They simply do not have the tools or skills to cope well with the society we have created.”

            Which is why Statists such as yourself created such a society.
            To perpetuate/expand it,, and therefore your control over their lives by expanding the State to provide for it,, and thus to permanently capture their resultant votes.

          • Darwin39

            Or conversely, in summer their power consumption drops by 75% but their wages do not do the same. It’s an especially comfortable time.

          • onelaw4all


        • hardsell

          I worked it out at about $2.50 per kid per week based on cheapest milk and wheat biscuits in supermarket. $2.50!

      • onelaw4all

        As long as it results in redistribution of wealth, absolutely!!

        • Chad Chambers

          There needs to be redistribution of wealth. Do you not think so?

          The wealth gap is ever increasing as those that have the means continue to amass more wealth and do their best to keep wages, etc to a minimum so that the not haves’ are left further and further behind as no-one has their interests at heart.

          Redistribution of wealth is a means to monitor and arrest this trend.

          • onelaw4all

            “There needs to be redistribution of wealth. Do you not think so?”

            Yes, I agree. We call this capitalism,, through voluntary participation.

            “The wealth gap is ever increasing”

            And? So what?

            In societal terms, the poorest among us now is richer in real terms than the richest monarchs of earlier centuries. This has been achieved by economic progress,, not “Progressive” progress.

            “and do their best to keep wages, etc to a minimum”

            You do know that labor is just another commodity, right? subject to the laws of supply and demand like any other commodity, although Statists have done their best to cause market distortions in this area through intervention.

            “so that the have nots’ are left further and further behind as no-one has their interests at heart.”

            a thrice-lost in translation from a Cuban Marxist dialectics pamphlet, methinks?

            “Redistribution of wealth is a means to monitor and arrest this trend.”

            No, it is a Statist tool to enable the textbook slow transformation from capitalism to Marxism,, with a tiki tour through the slums of socialism. (Don’t open the windows, Deidre!!!)

          • Chad Chambers

            The wealth gap ever increasing indicates ever increasing stress on society to me. What do you think the final goal is? It certainly will not be onelaw4all.

          • onelaw4all

            “The wealth gap ever increasing indicates ever increasing stress on society to me.”


            Perhaps there is a support group that can help you with your pyschological malady?

            “What do you think the final goal is?”

            Errmm, the one that will probably win the match?

            Seriously though, final goal of what?

            Your babelfish is fractured..

          • rockape

            Yes Chad and why. Because labour encouraged a dependancy on welfare and discouragers ambition. Lots of talk to a techknowledgey led society but that was all. All talk no action. If you want me to distribute my wealth them provede me with a service and I will happily pay thereby distributing my wealth. Or, is your preferred option to see people stand with their hands out and encourage a Nation of beggars.

    • Chad Chambers

      spolly is one of those folk Michael Cullen had in mind when he said (and I paraphrase here), “I don’t discourage people getting to the top, I just hate it when they try to kick the ladder away when they get there”.

      • onelaw4all

        You just described the likes of the George Soros’s and the Warren Buffets of this world, aka crony corporatists,, enabled by Big Government.

  • johnbronkhorst

    Well…here is the carrot…….now beat the fuck out of parents who refuse to feed their kids, with the biggest stick you can find!!!!!

  • unsol

    O for awesome – cradle to the grave welfare we remain.

    Personal responsibility is like, so overrated you know. NOT.

    Bloody spineless govt.

    Here’s a thought. Charge every wanker that DARES to send their kid to school hungry, or allows them to merely buy crap on the way, with neglect.

    That would sort it out. Or at the very least force the parents to have a direct debit for all necessities including a charge for food in schools – why should they get to double dip?

    Btw, I wonder, how many poor kids from white families are in this position? My guess – stuff all.

    Being poor is no excuse to be negligent; poverty in this country where we – the nett taxpayer – pay billions in welfare is a choice.

    • Jonathan Pull

      And what do you do to parents who send their kids to school with full bellies but the kids say that they haven’t been fed?
      A little bit short sighted.
      Sure penalize the shit parents who don’t feed their kids but don’t go all out just because a kid says they’re hungry.

      • unsol

        What an idiotic comment. If there was no food in school programs, kids who have been fed would not just randomly claim they haven’t.

        Retarded thinking devoid of logic.

        It has about as much relevance as kids who go to the councillor & claim they are being beaten when they are not.

  • oh why stop there? why do we just subsidize their whole lives? why dont we just buy the usless parents nice safe cars? its not the childs fault that they are being driven around in unsafe cars? why stop there? my daughter wants a fucking pony. its not HER fault she i cant afford one. everyone knows that a girl who grows up with a horse is much better prepared for life than a girl who doesnt. why stop there? what a load of socialist bull.

    • It’s finally coming out in the wash: Key is a commie. It’s about time that National’s hoards of JK groupies realised that their man has few priorities where controlling government expenditure is concerned. Regrettably, I doubt the mist will clear sufficiently for them to recognise that fact.
      NSF-H: why stop at a horse?! The poor wee dears probably haven’t skied in the French Alps yet. Another funding priority to add to the list.

      • Ronnie Chow

        Key is human . What’s that white stuff I see on carrots recently ?

  • Grizz30

    A couple of questions. Would Hone Harawera been able to get Fonterra and Sanitarium to donate product to the breakfast programme like John Key has been able to?

    If Mana have an influence on Government, they will want school lunches as well. So will they get Tip Top or Goodman fielder to donate bread and local growers donate sandwich filling?

    Why are big corporations paying into the programmes? Such as skycity and the convention centre, Fonterra and Sanitarium in this programme. Do they fear that they would have to pay a lot more under a green lead government.

  • LesleyNZ

    Parent irresponsibility is the main reason why kids go to school with no breakfast. A plate of porridge costs very little and is far more nutritious and especially good for the heart than Weetbix. Not good at all for the State to take over parental responsibility. I can’t believe that the State is now helping to feed kids whose parents don’t care if their kids have breakfast or not. Are these kids really starving because there is no food or money? This needs to be clarified with the children and their parents. Get the kids to cook their porridge at school. Then they can learn to do it at home and show the parents how to give them a cheap filling breakfast. Of course parents are going to happy to send their kids off to school for breakfast – it is free.

  • Meg

    Good to see Key bowing to pressure from the public and finally doing the right thing by the poor kids.

    Also politically clever. Which would have been in his mind as well. He has taken Labour/Greens policy, tweaked it and now has removed that threat from the left. Sadly he has yet to do anything about poverty in general, but at least he has been guilted into doing something postive.