Dear Peter Dunne – an open blog



Kia ora Peter.

How you doing? Hope the Party is well and membership booming.

May all your policy research students all come from terribly prestigious private education providers.

Pleasantries aside.

Peter, can I call you Peter? Pete, we need to have a chat.

MANA’s Feed the Kids Bill is up at the moment. It’s an opportunity to alleviate the grinding damage of poverty facing some of the 25% of NZ Children living in poverty.

Now I know the position from the right is that this is a ‘parents responsibility’, and with all due respect, that’s terribly misplaced.

TDB Recommends

It is not easy to survive on benefits set below the level people can live on and despite all the best intentions, one blow out in a month from sickness, a higher power bill or a vehicle break down is all that is needed to upturn the very delicate and difficult weekly budget balancing act our poorest members of society must juggle with while the wolf breaks through the door.

Mr Dunne, this isn’t about parents abdicating responsibility, it’s about Government admitting theirs.

Empowering schools to act as a real hub of their community with school gardens is legitimate. A paid administrator in each school organizes this process without asking schools to divert more of their already over stretched resources.

This single move could be the most important piece of policy that would lift the largest amount of children out of poverty ever under taken in modern political history.

Mr Dunne, you could either be the independent political voice that stands for sensible common sense center ground policy and allow this Bill to go through so that it can at least be debated OR you can be that guy who killed ‘Feed the Kids’.

Whenever child poverty is mentioned in the lead up to the election, your name will be attached as the MP who killed the possible solution that was being offered.

That is a political legacy no one wants.

Please Mr Dunne, at least allow the debate to occur and consider the argument. Our children living in poverty deserve to have their voices heard and their concerns be our focus.

Even if it is for a brief moment.


  1. After watching Peter Dunne on “Backbenchers” this week, I was surprised at how sensible and pragmatic his input was. So I hope he listens to your voice of reason and goes beyond just talking the talk. If there was ever an issue that could, should and must unite, “feed the kids” is it.

    • Ah yes Mr Sensible. Dunne has always been a smooth superb performer on TV. He is media savvy . What you have to do with Dunne is study his voting record. He runs with the hares and hunts with the hounds. He will say whatever it takes to keep his seat. He is an ignorant pompous narrow minded bigot. His attack on Jeanette Fitzsimmons when she retired was filled with malice. He made outrageous erroneous claims about her political performance that were totally uncalled for. He kept the Greens out of Govt with Labour because of his ridiculous stance on marijuana among other paranoid delusions he has about the Greens. they really scare him. Last election he said he wouldn’t vote for asset sales. Yeah he’s a top dude. Piece of shit.

      • ” Last election he said he wouldn’t vote for asset sales.”

        That’s a common claim but false.

        I don’t know about the other claims but if getting that wrong is anything to go by I have my doubts.

        Dunne bases his vote first on coalition agreements, second on UF party policy, and third, on consultation and judgement. If you look at any of his votes this term that’s what he’s done.

        • In a classic example of forked-tongue he said he wasn’t necessarily in favour of asset sales.

          Very duplicitous.

  2. What’s really depressing is that politics may well get in the way of this bill, i.e. it fails simply because the other members don’t like MANA. With this Government that wouldn’t surprise me one bit – they will walk over starving children to tow the party line.

  3. I don’t know what his position is on this but I’d like to see it get to the committee stage.

    It’s a complex issue. Parent responsibility is important, but the sad fact is that some kids have crap parents and that probably won’t change. It may be that the welfare of kids has to take precedent over the futile ideal of all all parents being good providers of food and love.

    • I don’t think parent responsibility is relevant at a Governmental level because said responsibility cannot realistically be legislated for! What new law would one suggest to force parents to be more responsible? Meanwhile the kids are going hungry, and have no say in the matter whatsoever. You can’t help being the child in poverty.
      I guess people could band together and ostracise bad parents, but imo people are becoming so anti-social with respect to their communities (ironically I believe this is at least partially due to the rise of social networking sites) that this also probably won’t work.

      • I agree, that’s the big problem. Parents should be responsible but you’re right, there’s no way of making them be responsible and do what’s best for their children.

        And most ways of bribing or coercing them have drawbacks as well.

    • “It may be that the welfare of kids has to take precedent over the futile ideal of all all parents being good providers of food and love.”

      I don’t think there’s any “may” about it, Pete,

    • It demonstrates an extraordinarily lack of empathy for you to assume that people who are desperately struggling to make ends meet are automatically bad parents.

  4. Talking of crucial votes:

    “On Q+A this Sunday, we speak to Peter Dunne. United Future is a one-MP party in coalition with National but does he wield too much power in Parliament? We talk to him about crucial votes and the IRD software upgrade.”

  5. Sometimes even a caucus of one carries the weight of Parliament. That is certainly the case on this issue.

    Peter Dunne should be reminded that when the United Party was launched just prior to the MMP era being ushered in, it rolled out a childhood health policy, suggesting all primary school kids should receive an apple a day paid for by the Government. It was the 1990s version of the half-pint of milk a day policy of old New Zealand.

    United’s was a symbolic gesture on two fronts: 1, that child health, education, and the nation’s future were interconnected; and 2, that the state had a roll in sharing with community and parents a responsibility for a child’s upbringing.

    I know the United Party was initially launched without Peter Dunne’s Future New Zealand Party, the merger followed later. But Dunne signed up to the foundation-ethos that the United Party advanced.

    He has a choice, to return to the principles that caused the formation of the party he now leads, or further permit the corruption of those very ideals the foundation members like Clive Matthewson and John Robertson mapped out 17 years ago.

  6. Well said, but don’t hold your breath. Expect little from a self-interested flip-flopper right of centre.

    Throughout my life as an “ordinary person” it’s easy to see many struggle to get along. Three decades of neoliberal nonsense largely responsible. How many of us were conceived as the result of planning by our parents? We live in a system devoid of understanding with a schadenfreude society to reinforce it. Notice how the current system allows the poorest people a razor thin margin to navigate through to advance? For them mistakes or accidents are unacceptable while those with wealth are too big to fail. Policies continue to narrow that margin to advance to almost nil – one is inclined to think this is all part of some sinister plan.

    • My parents planned for three, and had five (I’m the fourth). Both the last two conceived through contraception. Luckily my father had an extremely good job while we were young that allowed us to manage as a single income household, with mum at home. Now things are harder – both my parents work, he’s self-employed after being made redundant at the company he worked at for decades, suffers from increasingly poor health at age 66. They’re still pretty comfortable though. If a couple with less secure finances had that conception history they would be regarded as irresponsible over-breeders. Even only the three planned kids would probably raise cries of “stop having kids you can’t afford!”

  7. Confucius said
    “if a state is governed by the principles of reason, POVERTY and MISERY are subjects of SHAME; if a state is not governed by the principles of reason, RICHES and HONOURS are the subjects of SHAME.”

    ‘But the rich man’ ‘is always sold to the institution which makes him rich’

    From Henry David Thoreau’s ‘A Civil Disobedience’ 1849

  8. Peter Dunne refused to support the Greens In Work Tax amendment to include beneficiary families – it is unlikely that he will support the Mana bill. I am saddened to see the comments above talking about unresponsible and crap parents- they simply do not have enough money, period. And this includes the ‘working poor’ – try surviving on the benefit or the minimum wage before judging parents.

    • Julz, most poor parents manage to put feeding their kids near the top of their priorities. I grew up in what would now be called poverty but was always well fed.

      There are some parents who are crap. And their kids suffer, some by being inadequately fed. Of some of them, unless their addictions and mental health issues can be dealt with successfully they will remain crap parents.

      And a small proportion of those parents are always likely to be crap parents, no matter what the government or social services try to do.

      There are other parents who can be helped to become better parents, better budgeters, better cooks.

      Just giving them all more money is not going to solve much.

      • There are plenty of crappy rich parents. Sadly no one ever seems to talk about them, or their abdication of responsibility for their childrens’ bad behaviour, or developmental issues. They get away with it because they’ve got money, so no one ever questions them. Just like there are plenty of rich wife beaters. I remember being told in the early 90s, by a friend who was a cop in Manukau, that Howick was the worst area in South Auckland for drug related crime, because so many of the comfortably off parents there just gave their kids money to spend for the weekend, rather than supervising them or spending time with them, and the kids spent that money on drugs. I went to Pakuranga College in the 70s (which was a white, upper middle class school in those days) and drug use was widespread there. I know that the same things are going on today with “little rich kids” here in Canterbury too, through friends whose children have attended elite schools here. And there is a lot more drug use among the wealthier people in society than the media, or anyone, likes to talk about. It’s time people stopped thinking drug use, & drug crime, and child neglect are a beneficiary/ lower class problem, and talked more openly about how it happens in the rich end of society to at least the same extent. It’s just that if you’re rich you can afford a good lawyer and get name suppression.

        • Agreed Blueice (I also grew up in the Howick area & the eighties were the same) – I personally find it sad when hearing about underprivileged youths committing crime but it downright disgusts me when I hear about rich little brats that get trashed and crash their birthday present BMW and kill/maim and generally destroy innocent people’s lives with no remorse.

      • It seems my first attempt at replying to your various expressed opinions, or more to the point – calling you out on them, did not find favour with the board moderators. I wish to try again in a direct but more civil manner…

        Firstly Pete, get ya hand off it – you did not grow up in what would now be called poverty. The fact you were “always well fed” does not make you down with the poor kids, nor put any flex in the stick you try to beat across the backs of all those terrible parents, with all their mental health issues, addictions, financial illiteracy, and just plain not giving a damn about their kids, despite “most ways of bribing or coercing” them to do so. This is where it started to go wobbly with the moderator so let me tread tentatively… with all respect Pete, that is very sanctimonious and insulting and I challenge you on what your always well-fed experience knows of the realities of poverty? When have you gone hungry for so long that your tummy hurt? When have you despaired and cried yourself to sleep because you needed charity food to feed your family? Have you ever felt the shame and embarrassment of going through a checkout with a WINZ food grant? Feeling like you would rather go hungry than suffer the humiliation but sucking it in because personal pride doesn’t feed the kids and then pretending you were still shopping but actually were waiting for a checkout with no queue to get it over with as quick as possible? Not daring to put anything in your basket that looks anything like a luxury item – like a simple packet of bikies for the kids? When during your childhood did you wear throwaway clothes that when you started were too big and when you finished were thread bare and too small? When did you not ever have a pair of shoes? When did you quietly watch other kids eat their lunches to see if anything got put in the bin so you could discreetly take it out later? These, Pete, are the shared experiences of many thousands of kiwi kids and their parents.

        It’s all about the choices eh – no such thing as just simply not enough money, what with how cheap food and living expenses are and all that free healthcare and education plus the generous welfare handouts and a minimum wage that’s the envy of Somalia and the slums of Mumbai style poverty – you know, REAL poverty – how can hunger even exist? As evidenced by your personal experience.

        Here’s the thing… the cost of living has skyrocketed since the well fed tummies of those who tend to share your views were growing up in the egalitarian shameless welfare state of yesteryear when wages and buying power were much higher and user-pays was but a wet-dream of a neoliberal agenda that had not yet “restructured” society, and state benefits were not deliberately re-set to be below that required to provide for the minimum caloric intake of an adult. Since then the wages and working conditions have plummeted, jobs in manufacturing and processing of raw materials have been evaporating, benefits been slashed, vast amounts of social investment been kicked for touch, and inflation continues to chew at the already frayed edges of those on the poverty line.

        The cost of living is high, as is the widening gap of inequality. When you have little or no control over the amount of income you receive, be it wages or benefit, and no control over the cost of rent and other essentials, the only real control one has left is what goes in the food basket, that is so often the ONLY “choice” and place that has any leeway to spend less – can you see now how hunger exists, and not just with those “crap parents, no matter what the government or social services try to do”? It doesn’t take much for that delicate dance of treading financial water to all come crashing down – a major appliance breakdown, a sick family member, a high winter power bill, a rent rise or interest rate increase pushing up your mortgage, your child starting a new school that requires a new school uniform… and on it goes. Do these realities for so many even enter into your paradigm? It would appear not.

        You claim “It’s a complex issue” …not really. On the one hand you have a quarter million kids in poverty, on the other you have ignorance and prejudice – quite simple actually. Lets take a leaf out of John Lennon’s song book and bend our imaginations for a moment and lets say food in schools is now the norm – what’s the worst that can happen?? Children get fed and the social investment cost stimulates some of the economy. I seriously doubt it will result in social calamity and the flood-gates of parents abdicating all responsibility for their children. I would predict the exact opposite – the alleviation of some pressure on the most marginal will give some space for the family to flourish just that little bit more. You may say I’m a dreamer – but I’m not the only one…

        • Agreed – anybody would think that this initiative was about giving away Kings School scholarships to the masses – ah no it’s about feeding starving children and giving them some kind of belief that society doesn’t just want them to shuffle of with their tails between their legs and die so as not to interrupt a greedy politicians self promoting business orientated budget plans

        • Jeezus H.

          That has to be the BEST written piece on this issue I’ve ever read, Duval.

          I don’t know what you do for a crust, but I hope it’s in the media. God knows we need more like you, presenting a clear and concise message…

          Thank you.

      • Just because a few parents are crap parents ought not indicate that the government should tailor its policies on the assumption that all parents are crap parents. In fact the government is using this (largely mythical) minority as an excuse.

        What we have in New Zealand is a Welfare State for the rich, and the rest of us can go hang. In Christchurch, a lot of families have been rendered destitute on account of loss of their livelihoods as the hospitality industries took a hammering from the earthquakes, and price gouging in housing and rentals.

        I get sick and tired of well fed, self-righteous and morally smug people passing judgement on others who, for no fault of their own, are losing the struggle to make ends meet. People ‘choose’ poverty, according to these types (I’m not making this up: I’ve heard them), yet I’ve never heard of any of them taking a vow of poverty.

        It makes no odds that fat cattist governments have been robbing New Zealanders blind for the last 30 years and more. Even their own constiuency, whether Labour or National, has come in for the stripping of their livelihoods, their homes, their wealth and their rights. All for the sake of propping up the already bloated wealth of the rich.

      • “Just giving them all more money is not going to solve much.”

        No, but feeding them in school might. What’s the WORST that could happen, Pete; the VERY worst?

        Hungry kids get fed.

        That’s it.

        Hungry kids get fed.

        Are we, as a nation, now so engrossed in penny-pinching that the very prospect of feeding hungry kids is beyond us? God help us if we are…

        Y’know, Pete, if Dunne voted for the Feed the Kids Bill, I’d sing his hallelujah’s from the rooftops. It would be the crowning glory of his long political career.

    • Spot on – someone should do the sums properly and show everyone why it is so difficult to live on the benefit – whatever one it is. The Mangere Budget Advice centre has made comments before about some people simply not having enough money. Some years ago I unexpectedly ended up in hospital for a couple of weeks. When I left my daughter went to get the prescribed items from the chemist, the cost was $250! Had I owned a card that one is entitled to on a low income, the cost would have been about $180. Now tell me how anyone on a benefit is going to be able to pick up their prescription. We currently have lots of DNAs at Greenlane clinical centre because people cannot afford to travel to their appointments some of the time, and if they drive there the cost of parking is prohibitive. A midwife I know delivered a baby of a woman in a poor suburb in chch in the middle of winter last year, there were 3 little ones in the house, a husband working full-time and no heating whatsoever, they simply couldn’t afford it.

      • I heard some terrible, terrible stories at my last job in the community sector in Christchurch. I left to get my degree in Māori Studies and Social Policy so I’m probably going to go back to more of the same. I’ve seen evidence of exactly how even power alone can blow a family’s budget in winter. There are elderly people who stay in bed all day because they can’t afford to turn a heater on. No exercise, no socialising, no hobbies…

  9. United No Future. Tossers of the world united in ignorance, fraud, selfishness, and greed.

  10. I am more than appalled at the complete disinterest of most of the politicians in the beehive. They spend far to much time buzzing round the honey pot to take an active interest in whats happening to our formerly wonderful country. I have just finished reading for the second time. Michael Kings Penguin History of NZ and I think a lot of politicians – particularly the Nats, ACT and United future and to some degree the Maori Party, should also take the time to read this book. It became very obvious as I worked through it, that time after time, politicians have chosen to ignore (at their peril) things that affected a large proportion of the citizens of NZ. I particularly like the chapter about how the Save Manapouri protests brought about a re-think on large Dam projects, due to the undisclosed facts as to how it would ultimately affect the ecology, and general ability to live with the damage these projects would cause. Not immediately, but in the future. I could see the parallels with the upheavals in the Education System. The effects wont be immediate and it will take perhaps 10-15 years before we see the flow-on effects of these changes. The important thing was the fact that people were prepared to stand up for what they thought was right. Charter schools may have a small place in our education system, but it shouldnt be touted as the be all to end all by a pompous politician who has a great deal of brain-fade when it suits. (Im talking about JB) If we want to change this policy then we need to do far more than have a few marches and talks on FB. The protests that changed the Manapouri project were far more out there. Just saying.
    As far as feeding the children at school, there are many many reasons it is necessary, but no matter what the reasons are, the children of this country should not be hungry, so feed them. Teach them how to make breakfast, show them how to grow vegetables,. give them packets of seeds to grow at home, so they can, in turn, teach their parents (some obviously have no idea) Teach them how to cook a basic meal, make scones, pikelets, jam boil an egg, bake a potato and so on. Then they will be able to feed themselves if necessary. I taught my boys (and the girls) at an early age to sew on a button, take up a hem, cook themselves a basic meal do the housework – dishes, sweeping mopping, vacuuming etc and all of them could take care of themselves when they went out flatting. Perhaps Im old fashioned, but I cared enough to teach them and this is what has been missing over the past couple of decades. Too much fast food and pre-packaged meals. No one knows what to do anymore or its just in the too hard basket because they cant be bothered. Rant over !!!!

    • Some parents cannot pass on skills they don’t have. Also, some don’t habe rhe time, space, energy, or land to grow a garden etc. The issue is hungry kids who can’t learn as a consequence – so let’s remove at least one hindrance for them.

      • Agreed Fraser – the housing that the fatcat politicians would prefer to house the poor in wouldn’t include land for vege gardens & any communal green area would probably be covered in astroturf the likes of which is being pushed to replace a huge percentage of Michael Park in Ellerslie – disgusting indicative that one.

  11. I just don’t understand what the problem is with schools making lunches available at a school canteen. It’s done in so many other countries, and just seems eminently sensible. Surely there must be some way that school cafeterias could charge a minimal fee for those families who can afford it, and maybe take vouchers or something from those that are on some sort of govt income support. It wouldn’t have to be compulsory to eat there, and Jamie Oliver has shown, with his work in school canteens in the UK and USA, that school food can be nutritious and tasty. And why aren’t schools encouraged to have gardens & plant fruit trees. Kids would learn valuable skills, as well as it being a great way of learning about biology, practical maths and so on. There are some schools doing this already, but so many more could get in to it. There are apparently a lot of Aussie schools doing school gardens now. It just seems like another practical sensible idea that political bloody mindedness will block at whatever cost.

  12. We could take this to its ultimate end and just confiscate the children at birth and put them in a state run ‘The Wall’ type institution.
    What the hell – we … that is you and me, and ALL the parents, through apathy and our ability to run from the facts of life, have totally screwed every child alive today chance of living much more than 20 years. As parents we are failures.
    Lucky for me I didn’t have kids …. but that was just luck.
    Welcome to the end of the party Generation Omega.

  13. It’s not up the government to fix these foibles of human choices, ‘least they anger the God of their free market religion.

    This God, for whom those with a strong enough faith does exist, is so powerful it can create 170,000 jobs! It hasn’t done it YET, but with enough human sacrifice that does please the Lord, it will – you must have faith! Nothing pleases Free Market God more than the sacrifice of children, it’s in the scriptures – “suffer the little children that they may come unto thee” The Profit Thatcher: chapter 9, verse 6. We need MORE suffering not less! Me must please the Lord and do his good works on earth.

    Once the faithful reaches a certain critical mass – the Angels of “market mechanisms” will sound their trumpets – the poor will become rich and the rich will become even richer to the point of spontaneous philanthropy, millionaires will become billionaires, billionaires will shed their skin and become new gods, and free market heaven will be realised on earth and Free Market God Supreme will come and take his rightful seat at the throne of Wall Street and rule over us for 1000 years. “Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” – Friedman Revelations: chapter 26, verse 18.

    The Beehive is a temple of free market worship – not the hallowed halls of human governance, and Hone Harawira is a heretic. Time to replace some of the profits of the rich with a prophet of the poor… feed the fuck’n kids! There is nothing complex about it.

    • Duval, that’s pretty giood writing. You could write a small book along those lines. I betcha it would sell nicely. (But would the Free Market God look upon you favourably unto your Seventh Son’s Share Portfolio?

  14. Quarter of a million children estimated to live in poverty. It’s no fauilt of their own – no child chooses which family to be born into. (And if such a choice exists, I can’t recall every having been offered such a choice.)



    Imagine ten percent of that number ending up going through the judicial system; 25,000.

    So we better start building ten more billion-dollar prisons now. And up our taxes or sell or remaining state assrets to pay for it.

    ‘Cos that’ll be the end conclusion.

    Or… we can invest now, and try to pull these kids out of poverty and give them opportunities their parents may not have had.

    So what’ll it be? Ten new prisons? Or feed them in school and give them a chance?

    I think the latter is the cheaper option.

    Plus – and call me hopelessly naive – it’s the decent thing to do.

    I hope Peter Dunne (and a few National MPs) read this. The future is literally in their hands.

    • So what’ll it be? Ten new prisons? Or feed them in school and give them a chance?

      Ten new Serco gulags, the sale of remaining public assets and more tax (on the poor, of course); are mighty attractive options for this government. Feeding these poor kids is logical, compassionate and decent – all alien qualities to the operators in this government – they can put a price tag on everything and sell, while valuing nothing.

      Read in the paper last week an article concerning donor organs, kidneys from live donors in particular, a Canterbury University academic suggesting $5,000 be offered to increase the supply. Imagine who will be desperate enough to donate, the poor of course. Can’t imagine $5,000 going a long way to secure a living. Not to mention the strain on the health of those in poverty. Is this where we may be heading? The poor being a supply of live organs?

    • You gave some good investment advice in a previous blog – don’t buy shares in MRP, buy Serco instead.

      • Consider this. I live in rural NZ, over the past three years I’ve heard a lot about people having their firewood supplies stolen in the area. How many people would report that to the Police? In past decades such an occurrence was unheard of.

        • Why are people not reporting this to the police? Do they not think the police will respond? What evidence do you have that the police fail to respond to reporting of crime?

          • Naturally some people report such cases to the police, but news along the grapevine suggests many don’t. How on earth could the Police possibly retrieve such stolen goods, different if it’s goods such as a vehicle, etc. Not something relatively trivial such as firewood. Then there’s the long response time, after all we’re talking about rural NZ, along with the small numbers of local Police. Anecdotal evidence here, but something to consider.

          • Heed what people are stealing here: firewood. People have to be in a pretty dire state to resort to stealing something as basic as fuel for heating. It’s shameful that this country has come to this. Reminds me of a scene in the classic film Dr Zhivago.

          • The Crime rate has been heading down at a time when supposedly poverty has been increasing. I have yet to see anyone from the left effectively answer this conundrum beyond hinting, (but not providing effective evidence), that the statistics are false.

      • Why – because crime rates aren’t actually going down – ‘recorded offenses’ have lowered meaning that more cases are ‘resolved’ before this point – sure does make the country appear safer on paper at least.

          • Jezus, Gosman. You’re a nasty piece of work.

            This blogpost is about child poverty, hungry kids, and 250,000 estrimated to be living in poverty – and you’re wanking on about crime STATISTICS and reporting to Police?!

            You disgust me.

  15. My personal opinion is that Hone’s bill is one of the most important to come before the House this year. 270,000 children living in poverty is this Nation’s shame. In an ideal world all parents would look after and provide for their children, but the reality is a number aren’t. We can debate the reasons until we are blue in the face, but in the meantime thousands of our children go to school hungry, unable to learn, let alone achieve. I have always believed that a state is judged by how it looks after its most vulnerable, and to ignore this problem, or pretend it doesn’t exist, or blame the parents, or find excuses elsewhere is simply not good enough and does nothing to address the substantive issue; let alone provide a solution. If this government can find millions to prop up Wanganui Collegiate (against official advice) then they can find money to feed our children.!!! If Dunne votes against this, it will absolutely confirm what most people believe: the man stands for nothing except himself.! Feed our children and give them a chance.

  16. Having worked in childcare for over 3 decades I notice that huge amounts of children, wealthy or no, are not eating properly at breakfast and possibly lunchtime as well.
    Not only due to the poverty bestowed on them by their families low wadge or even lower benefit allowances but also by the new “time poor” situation many families either buy into or actually experience, it does not matter which is the case as the outcome is the same.
    Breakfast can consist of sugary museli bars or “up and go” drinks (both lauded as healthy) consumed in the car.
    Lunch is no longer wholesome fruit,sandwhiches and homemade baking but little packets of salty or sugary carbohydrates (or not as some noodles are the same chemical make up as plastic) blended with various chemicals for flavor and color.
    Feeding the children properly,without judgement on their families income,parenting skills or the many other variables would be a huge step towards healthier children,better educated children and probably cost no more than the figures currently spent on the results of poor nutrition.

    • You are so correct (I hesitate to to use the word “right” on this blog).

      If food in schools ever came about the bigger question is what food.

      The NZ diet is driven by advertising, marketing and salesperonship aided and abetted by either ignorant or hypocritical “experts” from the nutritionist/dietician/medical/academic camps.

      I will bet that if any food in schools scheme came about it would be very very high in carbohydrates. Unlikely to have useful levels of complete , let alone, essential proteins.

      Any fats contained would most likely be hydrogenated polyunsaturates (both unnecessary and containing “trans” fats).

      Such a diet might fill the kids tummies but sure as hell is setting them up for diabetes and excessive fat accumulation as they grow older.

      I work with school age children on a daily basis and have gained a good insight into their breakfast and lunch diets, it is not pretty.

      • I get what you and others are saying here and for the most part agree entirely and share those concerns. Burnt Out Teacher did a great blog on this topic, which I think you had similar comments in. However, at this stage of things I think such a debate is counterproductive and distracting from the issue at hand and is a bit cart before the horse kinda stuff – valid as it may be. Lets not have perfection become the enemy of necessary.

    • Yes why can’t ‘Breakfast Nutrition’ be seen as a subject and be added to the educational curriculum – encompassing a ‘practical’ style class with hands on learning through taste, smell, & sight as well as theory aspects – kids could make daily journal entries on their experience (drawings for the littlies) – it could work in a class atmosphere or at daily morning school assembly with discussion educational after – we need to feed these kids it is the only humane option

  17. Peter Dunne told Helen that he would only give his backing in coalition if the Greens were excluded.
    That self-centred effort left about 8% of voters unrepresented in what should have been a Labour/Green government by numbers.

    When it comes to Dunne I wish that fence he sits on was made of barbed-wire.

  18. When this was posted I asked Peter Dunne if he would support the bill. He has just responded – No.

    He concluded:

    Whatever way one looks at the issue, the definitional problems are massive, and strongly suggest that such a programme would not only be unsustainable, but also impractical, and in a number of cases potentially inequitable.

    That is why I take the view that a much more realistic and workable approach is to target directly, through early identification by community agencies, at risk families and to work with them to help them get the support they need to properly feed their children.

    That support could take any number of forms, depending on individual circumstances, including direct assistance with the provision of food, at one end of the scale, through to such things as life skills advice on cooking, for example, and proper budget advice at the other end of the scale.

    Such a targeted approach is far more likely to succeed in the long term, and benefit directly at-risk children, and would have my full support.


    • so has Peter Dunne got some kind of bill drafted for his sensible ideas so that something concrete will happen soon, or is it all just hypothetical?

      any reason why he wouldn’t let this bill get to the first reading and make his “strong” argument in a parliamentary debate rather than via Pete George in a comments thread?

Comments are closed.