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To: The Government

Stop the cuts - Protect Our School Lunches

Health food with written text next to it stating "Stop the cuts- Protect Our School Lunches"

We call on the government NOT to make any cuts to our free school lunches programme.

Why is this important?

Schools are a place where kids go to learn, connect, and grow. But they can’t do this if they are hungry. In Aotearoa, one in five children live with food poverty. And poor nutrition is not limited to kids in food poverty, with only 5 per cent of children aged 0-14 years getting the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables per day. Nutritious food is essential for learning but many kids are missing out on this. This is why Ka Ora, Ka Ako - the school lunch programme was created. It currently offers 230,000 students in about 1,000 of the least advantaged schools lunches, and is a major safety net against food poverty and poor nutrition.

If the Government chooses to remove the programme from schools it would rob students of their potential and then we all lose from the missed contribution they can make to our communities.

Research from the PISA (Program for International Student Achievement) shows that students who miss meals due to lack of money are two to four years behind their peers who never miss meals in educational achievement(1).

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has said his Government is focused on enhancing school achievement. Cutting school lunches goes against this - and will instead reduce school achievement.
Parents of children at schools with free lunches told researchers the lunches helped reduce their grocery bill, increased financial security and helped change their child’s food choices - towards healthier options(2).

Principals at schools receiving Ka Ora, Ka Ako say the programme has made a huge and lasting impact on students and losing it would be a tragedy. Principal of Te Kura Māori o Ngā Tapuwae in Māngere East Arihia Stirling said on TVNZ’s Breakfast programme, children are more focused and the number of students having to work to help pay for family basics has fallen as a result of the free lunch programme(3).
“What I say to the Associate Minister of Education is do not take the food out of our children’s mouths…this is so needed in the communities we serve.”

Seletute “Tute” Mila, principal of Arakura School in Wainuiomata, Lower Hutt, told The Press, Ka Ora, Ka Ako was a “critical programme” which her students loved(4).
The same story reported comments by Chisnallwood Intermediate year 8 student Ryder who said the lunches should stay “... mainly because that is a lot of students’ meal for the entirety of the day ... most people don’t have food at home.”
Before the lunches were introduced in 2022, Ryder said he struggled to learn “because my brain just got like, ‘oh, I’m so hungry’.“After I ate the lunches I’d always have energy to do stuff.”

All students at these schools receive a free healthy lunch which they share together. The provision of tasty, healthy lunches to all the students encourages them to eat nutritious food that will fuel their bodies and minds, and promotes social bonding through sharing a meal together.

Students all over New Zealand should have healthy and free school lunches - which are essential to address food poverty and poor nutrition. This is why we are asking the government to keep the free school lunch program, if you agree please sign and share this petition.



2024-03-17 09:48:02 +1300

20,000 signatures reached

2024-03-13 13:20:53 +1300

10,000 signatures reached

2024-03-11 11:54:21 +1300

5,000 signatures reached

2024-03-07 22:16:30 +1300

1,000 signatures reached

2024-03-07 18:27:49 +1300

500 signatures reached

2024-03-07 16:04:09 +1300

100 signatures reached

2024-03-07 14:43:28 +1300

50 signatures reached

2024-03-07 13:21:14 +1300

25 signatures reached

2024-03-07 12:47:48 +1300

10 signatures reached