1,000 signatures reached
To: The Prime Minister and All Members of Parliament
Eat Right Be Bright - School Lunch for All Kiwi Kids
We, the undersigned, seek that legislation be passed that the Government provide a daily fresh, healthy, nutritious and delicious lunch to all children at school and in early childhood education in New Zealand
Why is this important?
Sign our petition: We are a group of 100+ ordinary Mums from a variety of backgrounds. We believe passionately that all children are our children. That all children in New Zealand, wherever they are, whatever their circumstances, have the right to access their education on an equal footing and to nutritious food to nourish their mind, lives and spirit.
We believe a centrally funded, secured, healthy school lunch programme for all is a powerful mechanism for New Zealand to fulfill these obligations to our children, to lift them up and break the poverty cycle.
We are deeply concerned that:
• 1 in 4 of our kids are living in poverty.
• 1 in 3 of our kids are overweight or obese.
• 1 in 3 of all kids admitted to Starship Hospital are malnourished to some degree.
We know that minimum wage earning and beneficiary families need to spend up to 52% of their income to purchase a basic healthy diet (Otago University Food Costs Survey 2011); some reports put that now at 60%.
We know that higher rates of diabetes, obesity, infectious diseases, fatigue, poor mental health, greater psychological stress and poor academic development in children are found where healthy food is less accessible. We know cheap, accessible food is energy rich but nutrient poor meaning children are malnourished whilst also obese. This does currently, and will increasingly, put a chronic strain on the public health system.
We know that charities currently reach some children in need with their food programmes (of varying nutritional value) in deciles 1-4 schools. However, they are stretched and they cannot and should not be expected to shoulder the burden in perpetuity when all New Zealanders will benefit from healthy, well educated children. Teachers also tell us that children are going to school without lunch in all deciles or simply not attending school at all due to the shame of not having a lunch to bring.
Kids such as Blake (not his real name). He moved to a new school when his family sought refuge in a Womens' Refuge Centre away from his old area. He knew that a charity delivered hot food to his old school two days a week in the winter. The following week after his move, Blake walked 7km to his old school because he knew there would be hot food there on that day. A teacher asked him why he had walked so far back to his old school. Blake answered that it was because he hadn't eaten a meal since he had changed schools and he was hungry.
Or, like Ellie (not her real name), who goes to a school in an affluent neighbourhood. She often attends school without a lunch. The teachers started to sneak a lunch, from their own pockets, into her schoolbag as discreetly as they could. Ellie now hands back the teachers' lunch because she would rather be hungry than accept charity from others.
We say, this stops now. Only a school lunch for all kids will capture every child in need, free from shame and stigma.
All our children will benefit from the health and education uplift provided by a school lunch programme. For the children most in need, that uplift is greatest. Better educated and healthier children benefits all New Zealanders with less children needing doctors and more children being doctors.
We know that New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world with no national, government funded school meals programme. In most countries around the world it is uncontroversial, part and parcel of going to school. We believe that all kiwi kids deserve the same social protection and investment in their lives as their global peers.
We have decided it’s time to stand up and stand together for our children. It is clear to us that only with a centrally funded programme in all schools and early childhood education centres throughout our country will we reach all children in need, wherever they are, whatever their circumstance, free from shame and stigma.
The provision of a school lunch as of right, with dignity, in this way tells a child that we, as a society, value them. The provision of daily healthy and nutritious food in a school lunch sets all children up for a healthier and better educated life. This benefits all of us. Eat Right Be Bright
Join us in making change for a brighter future our children. Sign the petition.
Find out more ways to help and follow us on:
Facebook - @likeamumNZ or Eat Right Be Bright NZ
Website - www.eatrightbebright.org.nz
Instagram - @eatrightbebright_nz or eatrightbebrightn_z
Twitter - @eatrightNZ
How it will be delivered
We will deliver the petition to Parliament in person.