Sunday, 7 October 2012

Feeding our kids

Feeding our kids:

Working together to achieve agreed goals that are based on actual facts, is without doubt the quickest way to reduce the real need that actually exists.

Feeding our kids is a real and acute problem being face by hundreds of thousands of our citizens who are living from day to day in these harsh times. You don’t have to be an atomic scientist to understand that if kids are hungry the cure is to feed them. The only question is how. Food in schools is one answer.

The days of simply blaming individuals for hungry kids have long since been taken over by the massive size of the problem. It’s gone beyond being simply individualistic in nature to a nationwide epidemic. Bombers blog site recommended this:

Sharing ideas and concepts that bridge our ideological differences for the betterment of all NZers should be the aim of political debate. We may disagree with the causes and how best to counter them, but agreeing to the immediacy of need and a means to dealing with that need is a bridge we can all feel better for building.

Smaller political parties, for example the Mana Party have pushed for a national programme to putting food into schools [decile 1-4] and Hone Harawira on their behalf have produced a members bill, which if drawn from the ballot will see some immediate action. This socially progressive move could see some real progress toward real measurable progress rather than more talk with little action. MANA using their 'Feed the Kids' policy has influenced Labour Party policy and now impacted on National Party policy  

It would seem that the National / Act / Maori Party / United Future parties have yet to realise that a problem really exists. National / Act / United Future all seem to feel that this problem can be solved by developing a negative response to parents via the social welfare benefit system. This from

The Government is not prepared to commit to providing a food programme for hungry schoolchildren despite saying it is "open to ideas" around addressing the problem.
Deputy Prime Minister Bill English has confirmed he is open to a national food strategy for the country's poorest schools, but press secretary Joanne Black yesterday said "no new decisions have been made".

The Labour Party has or is designing some form of relief for desperate parents and struggling schools and has stated that it would be included in its 2014 election programme. Of Nationals turn around;

Labour leader David Shearer described it as a U-turn, saying Prime Minister John Key had been "pooh-poohing" the idea last month.

Hungry kids don’t do well at school, this is a well proven fact and the government promotes the concept via its public relations output that its major goal is to improve the standard of learning. One could be excused for thinking that they are more interested in its PR spin that actually solving the problem of poverty and kids hunger.

Waikato Principals' Association chair John Coulam said:

"Household income and poverty do in fact affect student performance, so, from an educational point of view, if that is one of the barriers to a child succeeding in learning then I would applaud it being addressed, I just hope that the Government's developing a social conscience. That would be wonderful, wouldn't it?"

National seem to be attempting to down grade the problem by using information based on out dated information, by looking backward rather than forward:

She cited a Health Sponsorship Council survey from 2007, which showed about 97 per cent of 5 to 12-year-olds have breakfast every day or most school days.
However, Ms Black could not be drawn on any details around any food provision plan.

However, a report released by Poverty Action Waikato suggested the problem of hungry schoolchildren was much more widespread.

Their research found that 25 per cent of children at the region's decile one and two schools that were enrolled with the ‘Kick-start’ breakfast programme had some degree of food need.

Mr Shearer also said Government statistics showed 80,000 children often went without breakfast. He accused Mr English of doing a U-turn on the issue and "picking up" Labour's idea of providing free food to 650 of the lowest decile primary and intermediate schools in the country.

I recommend that we all come together and give up our typical European attitude of blaming the victims along with our silly childlike phobia of being against the greedy Maori and other ethic groups, and revert to a more universal process of defining the problem and taking action to solve the problem. That has been the approach of the Mana Party which was certainly the first off the block in regard to feeding our children. And it worked for both the Labour and Green Parties have taken it on board. Even National and its hanger-on’s now have little choice but to move down the same track. Maybe if the PM spent more time in NZ dealing to NZ’s problems than dining in Hollywood or Hawaii and Bill English spent less time in London being wined and dined we could make some real progress on a real problem that needs urgent attention.
Charity will not solve the food problem for it is simply too big and is growing bigger every day. We need answers not PR clap-trap….

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