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To: Ministry of Education

Healthy Food and Drink in Schools

We call on the government to make all New Zealand schools (primary and secondary) and Kura Kaupapa Māori sugary drink free and to only supply healthy food.

The government has proposed changes to the promotion and provision of healthy drinks in schools and has provided 3 options, none of which address the food provided in schools and only one of which suggests including secondary schools in the supply of healthy drinks.

We, the undersigned, request that:
1/ All schools provide a healthy food environment that encourages healthy eating and supports the health, well-being and learning abilities of children and young people in their care.

2/ The existing Nutrition guidelines for schools are replaced with a regulation that all schools and Kura Kaupapa Māori supply healthy, nutritious food, and a duty on all schools (primary and secondary) to only provide healthy drinks and food.

We are seeking your support for this petition which will also be delivered as part of a collective submission to ensure that the government goes further than their proposed changes and makes all New Zealand schools and Kura Kaupapa Māori sugary drink free.

We also welcome you to make your own submission. The closing date for submissions is June 2 2022. Find out more about making a submission and read more about the proposed changes here:

Why is this important?

We believe that every child and young person in New Zealand deserves the best start to life and what they eat and drink is vital for optimal physical and mental health.

Research in New Zealand has highlighted ‘free sugars’ as contributing significantly to high rates of poor physical health, poor oral health, diabetes and other health-related diseases.[1] The consumption of free sugars in sugar sweetened beverages contributes to 26% of the total sugar intake of children.[2] Studies conducted by the Environmental Health Indicators New Zealand (EHINZ) note that dental decay is now the most common disease reported among children in New Zealand.

But sugary drinks are not the only problem. The food our children eat also needs to be healthy and nourishing. Research has demonstrated that children who eat healthy food are better behaved and better able to concentrate in class and learn.[3] Education is key to improving health outcomes in our community and schools need to lead the way. Promoting healthy food and then selling unhealthy food in our school canteens does not make sense. We already have Healthy Food Guidelines, Schools need to be given the duty and support to implement them. [4]

For more information, please contact:
Shona Jaunas (President Open Forum for Health Information)
[email protected]

[1] Free sugars are defined by the World Health Organisation as monosaccharides and disaccharides added to food by both the manufacturer and consumer, including sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juice.
[2] Sundborn et al, “New Zealand’s growing thirst for a sugar-sweetened beverage tax”, New Zealand Medical Journal, 2015.
[3] Rucklidge and Kaplan, “The Better Brain, How Nutrition Will Help You Overcome Anxiety, Depression, ADHD and Stress, Vermillion, 2021
[4] 20210927-Nutrition-Guidance-Formatted-FINAL.pdf (

How it will be delivered

The petition, alongside the collective submission, will be delivered to the Ministry of Education during the consultation period.



2022-06-01 21:21:31 +1200

1,000 signatures reached

2022-06-01 13:26:51 +1200

500 signatures reached

2022-05-13 23:01:19 +1200

100 signatures reached

2022-05-12 14:38:21 +1200

50 signatures reached

2022-05-11 18:05:31 +1200

25 signatures reached

2022-05-11 15:18:14 +1200

10 signatures reached