Why Peter Dunne won’t “Feed the Kids”

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feed the kids

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The Mana Party currently has a bill before Parliament, which, if passed, will fund school meals for children in Decile One and Two schools. These are schools in the poorest parts of our country.

Because as many of you readers know (or SHOULD know), child poverty has been steadily increasing over the last decades. Whether caused by low wages; inadequate welfare payments for unemployed; high house rentals and electricity tariffs; dysfunctional parents; or whatever – about 270,000 children now live in abject poverty.

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Many are going to school without breakfast or lunch.

We can blame the parents or the system or whatever. But we can’t blame the kids – they don’t vote. Nor can they speak up or act for themselves (unless, through hunger, they steal food from somewhere). Nor do children choose which family to be born into.

The Mana Party’s “Feed the Kids” Bill is designed to alleviate this growing cancer in our society and to give children a chance for a decent start in life. Food in their bellies will help improve their attention in school and help them focus and learn. Because as we all know (or SHOULD know) – without an education, these children will remain trapped in poverty.

From the Website, Feedthekids.org.nz,

  • Feeding the kids should be our first priority as a nation.
  • The Bill aims to set up government funded breakfast and lunch programmes in all decile 1-2 schools.
  • It’s a simple, easy and immediate way to address growing levels of child poverty in Aotearoa and has been a key recommendation of leading organisations such as the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty.
  • The Bill is expected to come before Parliament for its first reading on Wednesday 5 June. So far Labour, Greens, Maori Party, NZ First, and Independent MP Brendan Horan have agreed to support it. We need one more vote to get it passed and to a select committee for further consideration.

“We need one more vote to get it passed and to a select committee for further consideration“,  trumpets the appeal.

Unfortunately, that one vote will not be coming from Peter Dunne.

From the blogsite, YourNZ, run by Peter Dunne supporter, Pete George,

Peter Dunne’s vote would be the one that makes the difference to get this bill passed on the first vote. I asked him if he would support it. Dunne responded:

I fully understand what is intended by this essentially laudable proposals, but I think it is fundamentally flawed for a number of reasons.

Of course, there is a significant number of children who go to school to hungry, because they have not been properly fed at home, and of course poor nutrition has an adverse effect on learning and the subsequent development of the child. That is not the issue – rather, the question is what is the best way of addressing this problem.

At one level, the idea of meals in schools is superficially attractive, but it is essentially palliative, and does little to deal with the circumstances of these children on a long term basis.

Then there is the question of which group of children should we be focusing on. After all, not all children in schools will come from the same socio-economic backgrounds. So, should such a programme be applied universally, which would be as expensive as it would be impractical, or should it be more tightly targeted?

And if so, how? Should, for example, it just apply in low decile schools, even though there will children in those schools from a higher socio-economic status who would not need such a programme?

In that event, what about low-income household children in higher decile schools? Or, to get around income definition problems, should the children of beneficiaries be the only ones eligible?

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.

Acknowledgment: YourNZ – Dunne won’t “Feed the Kids”

Blah, blah, blah – it is vile sophistry to justify doing precisely nothing.

Dunne sez,

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.

Not only is that not happening – but social welfare services are being wound back by National, and assistance is getting harder and harder to access;

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National to push 46,000 off welfare

Acknowledgment:  Fairfax Media – National to push 46,000 off welfare

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The consequences for increasing poverty, and the effects on children,  are inevitable;

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Hungry kids scavenge pig slops

Acknowledgment: Fairfax Media – Hungry kids scavenge pig slops

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So why is a reasonably intelligent, well-educated man who is socially progressive, so thoroughly opposed to feeding  our hungry children?

After all, Dunne’s track record on social issues seems to be encouragingly positive;

So what’s up with Peter Dunne and his awful, cold-hearted response to the crisis of child poverty afflicting this country? One could imagine ACT and National MPs voting against the “Feed The Kids” Bill – those people either have freezer coolant in their veins, or are ideologically wedded to rugged Individualism and Personal Responsibility (except when National is held to account for it’s stuff-ups and policy failures) that includes perpetuating poverty on a nationwide scale.

Why has Dunne fobbed off meals in schools when he knows full well that it is a successful programme that is cost-effective; helps families in need; and alleviates hunger in our children? Dunne knows full well that food in schools has been a normal feature of Scandinavia and British schools for decades.

The pay-off is kids who can focus on classes and succeed in education. As Bryan Bruce said recently,

let’s get on and feed our kids properly so the teachers are freed to do their job and our kids can learn the 21 st Century skills they will need to earn money, pay their taxes and grow our economy.

See: The Daily Blog – Can we afford to have “a chat on food in schools”?

So why has Dunne adopted a miserly attitude that would gladden the dead heart of Scrooge? Why, when he admits that hungry, under-fed children is a very real problem,

Of course, there is a significant number of children who go to school to hungry, because they have not been properly fed at home, and of course poor nutrition has an adverse effect on learning and the subsequent development of the child.

I submit to the reader that Dunne’s mealy-mouthed words about why we can’t feed hungry children is indicated in his following words,

So, should such a programme be applied universally, which would be as expensive ...

So this isn’t about whether or not child poverty and hunger exists – Dunne concedes that it does.

This is about money.

And Peter Dunne, as we know, is Minister of Revenue.

Just recently, Dunne attempted to tax carparks as part of an extended Fringe Benefit tax. Last year, Finance Minister Bill English announced that a rebate for children earning pocket money (paper delivery boys and girls, etc), would be eliminated. And Gerry Brownlee announced 9 cents per litre increase in petrol taxes over a three year period.

Quite simply, after two unaffordable tax cuts – funded by offshore borrowings – National has found itself in a fiscal hole, of a shortfall of at  least two billion dollars per year.

After Dunne’s fiasco over his failed car-park proposal – which was so unpopular with trade unions and businesses alike – his National colleagues distanced themselves  from the policy, and it was finally dropped by Dear Leader on 18 March.

A day later, Key dumped another proposal by Peter Dunne to  extend tax on cellphones and computer laptops.

As Minister of Revenue, Dunne is in a bind. He is cash-strapped to fund National’s budgetted policies.

It also means he is loathe to support new initiatives which will incur additional spending.

Especially if it puts more pressure on him to find the money to pay for said initiatives.

As Dunne pointed out,  about feeding decile 1 and 2 school-children;

“…should such a programme be applied universally, [it] would be …  expensive

How else to explain his bizarre statement,

“...the question is what is the best way of addressing this problem.  At one level, the idea of meals in schools is superficially attractive, but it is essentially palliative…”

Feeding hungry children is… ‘superficially attractive’?

Feeding hungry children is ‘palliative’??

If Dunne is opposed to feeding hungry children from this nation’s poorest families,  because he would find it difficult to reconcile extra expenditure with revenue, he should at least have the intestinal fortitude to publicly admit it. Tell us, straight up.

Hiding behind faux excuses is obscene. Especially when, with every word he writes, there are children with empty bellies turning up at our schools.

Peter Dunne writes,

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.”

So. What has he done to achieve this?

Because all I can see is a cleverly-worded fob-off.

To the people of Ohariu – this is your MP. Is this what you voted for?

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child poverty

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References

Feed The Kids

The Daily Blog:  Hungry Kids Annoy Frazzled Lobby Group Director

The Daily Blog:  Can we afford to have “a chat on food in schools”?

The Pundit: Children’s Commissioner fronts for Nats on food in schools: Corporate agenda rules

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77 COMMENTS

  1. The sooner Dunne walks out the Beehive doors for the last time, the better. He’s a total waste of space and a self-serving fool. SInce when is food palliative? What an obscenity.

  2. He’s a dick. Feeding everyone in deciles 1-5 would be a good start, and deciles 6-10 could perhaps have teachers identify which families might need extra help and just freakin help them. I don’t actually give a shit how much it costs – undo some of the tax breaks for the extremely wealthy.That will fund plenty.

  3. So why is a reasonably intelligent, well-educated man who is socially progressive, so thoroughly opposed to feeding our hungry children?

    He told you – you even quoted him telling you, for fuck’s sake. You might not agree with his arguments, but they’re valid arguments. If the govt was to take your and Mana’s recommended approach of saying “Doesn’t matter why this is happening and no need to actually do something about it, we can easily just throw money at the problem,” it might as well just flush the money down the toilet.

    When Mana comes back with the missing “And while we’re forking out to feed kids with the bad luck to be born to deadbeats, and encouraging more parents to abdicate their responsibilities to the state, here are some things we could do to ensure fewer of the above in future” part of their bill, Dunne might well see his way to supporting it. As long as they’re just talking about issuing a blank cheque with an unlimited overdraft, he’s right to tell ’em fuck.

    • Yes but we know Rome burnt while Nero fiddled so why would we want children to keep starving while the unmotivated ministers of parliament take their time to possibly think their way to a better solution to this problem – kids need feeding now not when some egotistical politician deems it so

    • So it’s OK to offer corporate welfare and spoon feed the rich. But if the left want to end dolism and offer children a real chance to progress themselves were a bunch of wankers? Your a tard mate – this road of self righteous hating the poor leads to two things, an under educated class dependant on welfare to survive (dolism) – which, no one I know on the left wants. And eventually, a failed state. Dunn needs to pull his head out of his arse and offer solutions rather than hate filed platitudes.

    • Well PsychoMilt the truly idiotic thing about Dunne (apart from the hair) and what he says, which incidentally makes NO sense whatsoever, is that he is the Minister who promised to and was charged with ensuring the parents who should be “taking responsibility” via financially supporting their kids in fact do so through Child Support….and he has not….so his arguments and reasoning are ALL just plainly a crock…

  4. 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.

    And in the meantime????

  5. Thanks Frank. Yes – Dunne is miserly. He always has been – right from when he supported Roger Douglas in his economic distortions of the NZ economy in the mid 1980s. He really should call his “party” (can you have a party of one ?) Family First – the righteous middle-class pomposity of white supremacy.

  6. He told you – you even quoted him telling you, for fuck’s sake. You might not agree with his arguments, but they’re valid arguments.

    Hmmm, My point kinda went over your head, I think, Milt. Have a re-read. It might come to you.

    If the govt was to take your and Mana’s recommended approach of saying “Doesn’t matter why this is happening and no need to actually do something about it, we can easily just throw money at the problem,” it might as well just flush the money down the toilet.

    You call feeding hungry kids from impoverished or dysfunctional families “flushing money down the toilet”?!

    I think your capacity for empathy for others needs a bit of work.

    And not all parents are “dead beats”. Remember that little event five years ago called the Global Financial Crisis? It’s the same event that you right wingers use to avoid responsibility for screwing up the economy.

    Funny how – in your books – the same excuse doesn’t apply to the real victims of the GFC and Recession?

    But then, if it did, you couldn’t victimise the unemployed as being “dead beats” because you’d have no scapegoats for four years of National’s mis-management of the economy.

    Have I left anything out?

    Now, go find a heart, Milty. Your Cyberman personality creeps me the f**k out.

    • This is classic behavior from the modern day government. Not working for the people but enslaving the people.
      We need to take this issue into our own hands, people need to start charitable companies that give back to children in need.
      WE can make the change OURSELVES FUCK THE GOVT.

    • Hmmm, My point kinda went over your head, I think, Milt.

      Your point is that he’s coming up with bullshit reasons for opposing it because he doesn’t want to admit the real reason is he’s a hard-hearted tightwad. It’s an opinion you’re entitled to, but the fact is the reasons he’s given are entirely valid ones.

      You call feeding hungry kids from impoverished or dysfunctional families “flushing money down the toilet”?!

      You might as well. There are two reasons:

      1. A kid whose family is so dysfunctional it doesn’t give them breakfast has a lot more problems than hunger to deal with. Addressing only that minor symptom of the shit they’re in won’t achieve much over the long term.

      2. If implemented without the missing bit where you also implement something to actually deal with the problem, it’s just expensive waste. If somebody’s bleeding out and you decide no problem, we have plenty of people here to donate blood for transfusions, then yes you’re helping the person but in a way that is enormously wasteful and won’t do anything to fix their real problem, which is the injury causing them to bleed out. And if someone pointed that out, no doubt you’d accuse them of hating injured people or something.

      Like I said, maybe if Mana filled in the missing part of the bill, ie something to address the actual problem, instead of restricting the bill to flinging money at the symptoms while ignoring the actual problem, Dunne would be more inclined to support it.

      Funny how – in your books – the same excuse doesn’t apply to the real victims of the GFC and Recession?

      I don’t recall making any excuses for the perpetrators of the GFC, or being a right-winger. You might want to take that straw man elsewhere. Anyway, we’ve been building the current bumper crop of wasters for decades – they didn’t simply spring into existence because unemployment went up in 2009.

      • ME;”You call feeding hungry kids from impoverished or dysfunctional families “flushing money down the toilet”?!”

        YOU: “You might as well. There are two reasons:

        1. A kid whose family is so dysfunctional it doesn’t give them breakfast has a lot more problems than hunger to deal with. Addressing only that minor symptom of the shit they’re in won’t achieve much over the long term.”

        So because “addressing only that minor symptom of the shit they’re in won’t achieve much over the long term” – you think letting them go hungry in school, so they find learning that much difficult – is a solution, Milt?

        Do you honestly think that by not giving kids a chance to learn, by ensuring their stomachs are fed, that this will help the country?

        Doesn’t that strike you, Milt, as somewhat SELF-DEFEATING?

        It’s like saying, let’s not treat kids who have rheumatic fever. After all, “addressing only that minor symptom of the shit they’re in won’t achieve much over the long term.”

        ” Anyway, we’ve been building the current bumper crop of wasters for decades – they didn’t simply spring into existence because unemployment went up in 2009.”

        Really? You have a real hatred for the poor and unemployed, don’t you? The fact that we had only 3.4% unemployed in 2007 – doesn’t strike any bells with you, huh?

        • …you think letting them go hungry in school, so they find learning that much difficult – is a solution, Milt?

          I think that if someone approaches this issue without the smarmy sentiment and handwringing “won’t someone think of the children” oratory, they’ll see that an approach that consists only of an open-ended throwing of money at one symptom of the problem is stupid. Yes, we should feed these children, but only in a targeted way and only in the context of steps to ensure there are fewer of them in future, not more. And yes, National are the government responsible for doing that and they aren’t doing it, because they’re cunts – but the fact is that Mana aren’t proposing doing that either, are they? No-one has less respect for Peter Dunne than I do, but in this case he actually has a point.

          You have a real hatred for the poor and unemployed, don’t you?

          Funny how you guys always reach for that one as a first resort, rather than an argument. Someone who doesn’t share your romanticised view of wasters must be a Bad Person. Let me spell this out for you, Frank: being unemployed does not, of necessity, involve sending your kids to school without breakfast or lunch; being poor does not, of necessity, involve sending your kids to school without breakfast or lunch. Your attempts to portray child neglect as a standard characteristic of the unemployed or otherwise poor is the real expression of contempt here.

          • I love this ‘targeted assistance’ bullshit poverty deniers like Milt use. How much more fucking targeted can decile 1 and 2 schools be Milt? What level of ‘target’ do you want to shrink in down so your poverty denial is acceptable and fits inside your weak ‘it’s da parents fault’ crap hu?

          • As Milt has said and I’ve said below, there are much smarter ways of targeting.

            Martyn, can you say how many children from decile 1-2 schools have genuine problems with going to school hungry?

          • How much more fucking targeted can decile 1 and 2 schools be Milt?

            A lot more, given that decile hardly constitutes targeting at all. My kids are at a decile 5 school, but if they were at a decile 1 or 2 school and you told me that must mean I’m not giving them breakfast or lunch, I’d be sorely tempted to punch you in your patronising face.

            If there’s a problem with children going hungry due to neglect (and neglect is what we’re talking about here, not “unemployment” as Frank likes to pretend), then the response should target children going hungry due to neglect, not just anyone going to a decile 1 or 2 school. There are plenty of good reasons not to take that blanket approach:

            1. It would be hugely wasteful of taxpayers’ money.

            2. It would encourage other parents to hand over feeding of their children to the state, thereby wrecking any means of establishing the genuine neglect cases.

            3. It would equate poverty with child neglect in the minds of the people funding it, ie everyone who pays taxes.

            4. It would be a policy based on dishonesty (the pretence that no-one sending their kids to these schools is capable of feeding them), which would inevitably mean neither the implementers nor the recipients would treat it with respect.

            5. Neglected children not covered by the pretence (the ones at decile 3 schools, for instance – hell, ours has them at decile 5) would continue to get nothing.

            In short, the bill needs work. Instead of blaming people for not supporting it, do the work.

            • 1. It would be hugely wasteful of taxpayers’ money.
              No, it would cost $100million per year and have an enormous cost reduction down stream.

              2. It would encourage other parents to hand over feeding of their children to the state, thereby wrecking any means of establishing the genuine neglect cases.
              Poverty denial rhetoric 101. Punishing the children to punish the parent is the logic of a sadist. Parents can’t afford to do this, that’s the problem. You seem to have no idea at all how Ruth Richardson structured the benefit under the mother of all budget cuts.

              3. It would equate poverty with child neglect in the minds of the people funding it, ie everyone who pays taxes.
              Just because some taxpayers are as ignorant as you, doesn’t mean we should hand over our responsibilities as a society.

              4. It would be a policy based on dishonesty (the pretence that no-one sending their kids to these schools is capable of feeding them), which would inevitably mean neither the implementers nor the recipients would treat it with respect.
              Refer to point 2. This is just crazy bullshit, do they have no respect for the universal food schemes in other developed countries do they?

              5. Neglected children not covered by the pretence (the ones at decile 3 schools, for instance – hell, ours has them at decile 5) would continue to get nothing.
              Finally the defense that we shouldn’t help the poorest because some other children won’t be helped either.

              Yawn. Poverty denial is the only response the right now have to the mounting evidence of higher inequality in the system and any attempt to alleviate that poverty has to be attacked for fear the reasoning of a Government living up to its responsibilities gets carried over to other policy.

          • No, it would cost $100million per year and have an enormous cost reduction down stream.

            $100 million pa, most of which didn’t need to be spent, for a “cost reduction downstream” that exists only in the realm of wishful thinking. The problems militating against these kids becoming net gains to society consist of a hell of a lot more than a missing breakfast.

            Poverty denial rhetoric 101. Punishing the children to punish the parent is the logic of a sadist.

            Here we go again – you don’t have a counter-argument so out come the bullshit slogans. Fact remains: if we offer free breakfasts for everyone in decile 1 and 2 schools, pretty much everyone will take them. Sounds fine in principle, however in practice we have a serious problem with child neglect that this would very effectively conceal. So, great solution if you’re out to hide the problem, not so great if you’d prefer to fix it.

            Just because some taxpayers are as ignorant as you, doesn’t mean we should hand over our responsibilities as a society.

            Reasonable, not ignorant. You, Frank and Mana are saying we must take the approach that no-one with kids in decile 1 or 2 schools is capable of giving them a breakfast – if that were to become reflected in government policy, a reasonable person would be entitled to assume it was true.

            This is just crazy bullshit, do they have no respect for the universal food schemes in other developed countries do they?

            Well, Jamie Oliver and the Children’s Commissioner certainly think so. And no doubt you’ve noted the deep and abiding respect shown the US school cafeteria system in every movie, TV programme or book that’s ever featured one…

            Consider just how much respect most participants are going to have for a scheme that involves pretending no-one can feed their kids just to avoid embarrassing the deadbeats who don’t feed their kids. Kids who go to decile 1 and 2 schools, their parents, and the people who run those schools aren’t stupid, just poor.

            Finally the defense that we shouldn’t help the poorest because some other children won’t be helped either.

            No, the argument is that it would be better to go back to the drawing board than to implement a crap, expensive scheme that doesn’t even reach a significant number of the people it’s supposedly targeting.

            Poverty denial is the only response the right now have to the mounting evidence of higher inequality in the system and any attempt to alleviate that poverty has to be attacked for fear the reasoning of a Government living up to its responsibilities gets carried over to other policy.

            Blah, blah, blah. No-one’s arguing the current government isn’t a shit one with no intention of doing anything about the problem – at issue is Mana’s proposal and whether there’s enough wrong with it to justify Dunne’s refusal to support it. Remember? It’s the actual subject of the post?

            • $100 million pa, most of which didn’t need to be spent, for a “cost reduction downstream” that exists only in the realm of wishful thinking. The problems militating against these kids becoming net gains to society consist of a hell of a lot more than a missing breakfast.
              Feeding hungry children now will reduce costs downstream and it is $100 million desperately in need of spending if we are going to have an impact on the 25% of NZ children living in poverty, which poverty deniers on the right attempt to minimize so as to not address it.

              It’s a start.

              Here we go again – you don’t have a counter-argument so out come the bullshit slogans. Fact remains: if we offer free breakfasts for everyone in decile 1 and 2 schools, pretty much everyone will take them. Sounds fine in principle, however in practice we have a serious problem with child neglect that this would very effectively conceal. So, great solution if you’re out to hide the problem, not so great if you’d prefer to fix it.
              This is a joke, feeding kids will hide neglect??? The poverty is generating the neglect, not the parent.

              Reasonable, not ignorant. You, Frank and Mana are saying we must take the approach that no-one with kids in decile 1 or 2 schools is capable of giving them a breakfast – if that were to become reflected in government policy, a reasonable person would be entitled to assume it was true.
              No, it means we are providing a targeted means to help the poorest children.

              Well, Jamie Oliver and the Children’s Commissioner certainly think so. And no doubt you’ve noted the deep and abiding respect shown the US school cafeteria system in every movie, TV programme or book that’s ever featured one…
              Okay Milt and can you tell us how many of those unhealthy meals were served at the MANA feed the kids in south Auckland last month? Thousands of kids were feed, how many were un healthy meals?

              Consider just how much respect most participants are going to have for a scheme that involves pretending no-one can feed their kids just to avoid embarrassing the deadbeats who don’t feed their kids. Kids who go to decile 1 and 2 schools, their parents, and the people who run those schools aren’t stupid, just poor.
              The schools that have them at the moment report no such issue Milt.

              No, the argument is that it would be better to go back to the drawing board than to implement a crap, expensive scheme that doesn’t even reach a significant number of the people it’s supposedly targeting.
              The right wing poverty denial keeps changing, it’s too targeted, now it’s not targeted enough. These schools represent the 20% of schools working with the poorest children, that’s pretty targeted.

              Blah, blah, blah. No-one’s arguing the current government isn’t a shit one with no intention of doing anything about the problem – at issue is Mana’s proposal and whether there’s enough wrong with it to justify Dunne’s refusal to support it. Remember? It’s the actual subject of the post?

              ANd here is a list of organizations who disagree with you…

              Anglican Church,
              Auckland Action Against Poverty,
              Barnardos,
              Child Poverty Action Group,
              CTU Rūnanga,
              Every Child Counts,
              IHC,
              Methodist Church,
              NZ Educational Institute,
              NZ Nurses’ Organisation,
              NZ Principals’ Federation,
              Poverty Action Waikato,
              PPTA,
              Save the Children,
              Te ORA (Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa): Māori Medical Practitioners’ Association,
              Te Rōpū Wāhine Māori Toko i te Ora (Māori Women’s Welfare League),
              Unicef NZ,
              Women’s Refuge

          • Graeme Edgeler has corrected my – 1-2 decile schools doesn’t cover 20% of children, it’s 20% of schools. Only 14.8% of kids are in 1-2 decile schools.

            Martyn can’t say how many of them have serious hunger problems at school, but most kids are likely to be fed reasonably well, most parents do their best with the basics.

            And of the subset of 14.8% of kids who do have genuine ongoing nutrition problems, they are likely to have other related and contributing problems at home, just feeding them at school won’t fix the cause of the problem and it won’t fix other problems.

            I’ve been talking to someone today directly involved in education of dropout teenagers. They are already provided with meals but often choose fast food instead. And some don’t like holidays because it means more time at home when their refuge is on holiday, giving them a feed does nothing to address much worse problems than being hungry.

            I’ve also heard similar from someone involved in setting up a counseling service for primary school kids.

            Feeding 14.8% of kids because a few percent have nutrition problems and many more problems as well doesn’t seem to be a sensible approach.

            Mana’s bill seems like a political approach to something that can’t be fixed by sound bites and round figures that inefficiently address only a small part of a much bigger problem.

            • Martyn can’t say how many of them have serious hunger problems at school, but most kids are likely to be fed reasonably well, most parents do their best with the basics.
              You in no way can make that assertion Pete. These are the poorest kids in the poorest parts of NZ, they are not likely to be well fed and their parents most likely do not have the basics.

              And of the subset of 14.8% of kids who do have genuine ongoing nutrition problems, they are likely to have other related and contributing problems at home, just feeding them at school won’t fix the cause of the problem and it won’t fix other problems.
              We are fixing one thing at a time, poverty deniers try to downplay the level of poverty so that nothing gets done.

              I’ve been talking to someone today directly involved in education of dropout teenagers. They are already provided with meals but often choose fast food instead. And some don’t like holidays because it means more time at home when their refuge is on holiday, giving them a feed does nothing to address much worse problems than being hungry.
              So teenagers are difficult to reach, this will start with the poorest and youngest kids.

              Feeding 14.8% of kids because a few percent have nutrition problems and many more problems as well doesn’t seem to be a sensible approach.
              This simply isn’t true.

              Mana’s bill seems like a political approach to something that can’t be fixed by sound bites and round figures that inefficiently address only a small part of a much bigger problem.
              MANAs approach is the exact sort of big idea required to implement change from the shameful child poverty stats. Here is a list of organizations that think you are wrong and feeding the kids is right Pete…

              Anglican Church,
              Auckland Action Against Poverty,
              Barnardos,
              Child Poverty Action Group,
              CTU Rūnanga,
              Every Child Counts,
              IHC,
              Methodist Church,
              NZ Educational Institute,
              NZ Nurses’ Organisation,
              NZ Principals’ Federation,
              Poverty Action Waikato,
              PPTA,
              Save the Children,
              Te ORA (Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa): Māori Medical Practitioners’ Association,
              Te Rōpū Wāhine Māori Toko i te Ora (Māori Women’s Welfare League),
              Unicef NZ,
              Women’s Refuge

          • Who agrees with me or doesn’t is irrelevant, unless you’re an enthusiast for the logical fallacy of argument from authority. What counts are the arguments that can be presented for or against the bill.

            • Of course it matters – they are experts in the field working with the reality of child poverty – you on the other hand are a right wing troll

          • Yes, we should feed these children, but only in a targeted way and only in the context of steps to ensure there are fewer of them in future, not more.

            Funny that it’s not happening then, is it, Milt? Whether “targetted” or “untargetted”.

            Because all we’re getting from you right wingers is just more of the same judgemental crap; “it’s the parent’s responsibility”.

            Like kids have a say in the matter.

            Tell me Milt, what is it that scares you so fucking much about putting a goddamn bowl of weetbix, milk, and maybe some toast and jam, in front of a kid with an empty belly?

            What is it about a kid having breakfast that freaks you Righties out?

            Is it that you have this innate desire to punish the parents even more? Is there such a strong Calvinist tendency in you that demands a pound (or couple of kilos) of flesh from anyone not in your income bracket and needs support?

            The grim irony is that you benefitted from a state that provided so much for you in your childhood.

            Something went horribly wrong with you Righties to become so wretchedly self-centered.

            ‘Cos bugger me, this ain’t about the parents. This is about the kids. They didn’t get to choose which family to be born into. So I’m damned if I can understand why you want to punish them by denying them a bit of bread, butter, and jam.

            Your attempts to portray child neglect as a standard characteristic of the unemployed or otherwise poor is the real expression of contempt here.

            Oh, lovely bit of twisting words, Milt.

            I even doubt that you know what the unemployment benefit is, without looking it up.

  7. There’s also the reality that if he breaks ranks with NACT on anything his goose is cooked.

    Issues like this are why I hate these personal fiefdom seats that end up dictating policy for the rest of the country (Epsom). What is wrong with those voters? He’s not even a very good MP!

    • That’s nonsense. Dunne has “broken ranks” with National on a number of things, including:
      – Mondayisation bill (whicxh was successful)
      – extending Paid Parental Leave
      – Charter Schools (an Act policy)

  8. The “you’re with us or against us” approach to promoting policy usually doesn’t work well.

    Especially when “you’re against us” is extended to “if you don’t support a bill that does a little at the bottom of the cliff then you hate children and want them to starve” style attacks are used to try and guilt people into changing their minds. It’s more likely to have the opposite effect.

    • But it’s true Pete. If you allow your self sanctimonious and astounding self-rightousness that blames the parents for hungry children as your justification of not supporting feeding the kids – you do hate children.

      People who use the ‘blame the parents’ line are the very same people who have no idea how the benefits were set under Ruth Richardson aren’t they Pete?

      The very people who sing the ‘blame the parents’ right wing song and dance routine are the exact same fucking people who have NO IDEA that the mother of all budgets set the benefits just below the nutritional minimums so that those on welfare are hungry enough to not want to stay on welfare.

      Blaming the parents is a disgusting cop out and should be denounced with the contempt it deserves.

      • And by the way, some parents are to blame.

        Most parents see feeding their kids as a priority and do their best, some in difficult financial circumstances.

        I grew up in a very poor household, often food was very basic but I always had food. Most of my clothes were hand me downs, I used to help my mother unpick old jerseys so they could be recycled, my socks sometimes had more darns than original wool, and the only family holiday we had I don’t remember because I was a baby at the time. My father had to get extra work, my mother worked night shifts. I know what it’s like being a poor kid. But I was never a starving kid, because food was always available.

        But some parents have addictions to things like drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and they don’t always put their children’s needs first.

        And some parents are simply poor parents.

        “the mother of all budgets set the benefits just below the nutritional minimums so that those on welfare are hungry enough to not want to stay on welfare”

        Yeah, right. How did they manage to judge that with accuracy for a huge range of circumstances?

        • Well praise the angels Pete, you did it hard living through child poverty and it didn’t hurt you. Well done.

          But forgive me there Pete – you are are you not – old right? Like baby boomer old, like you lived pre user pays that has crippled Gen Xers and Y with personal debt, you were a poor child at a time of full state providence right?

          So you are holding that experience of poverty up when state assistance was gold plated to justify the hard right parents are to blame meme for doing noting for the current 25% of children living in poverty???

          I’m sure that helps you sleep at night.

          as for this

          Yeah, right. How did they manage to judge that with accuracy for a huge range of circumstances?

          …yes Pete, that’s the point. It didn’t.

        • Those who think they did it tough can be real pricks when they are on the other side of the fence.
          Three names of turncoat types who were hard-up when young, rose above it, then shat on those below them are John Key, Paula Bennett, and by the sound of it Pete George.
          Some people experience bad things and work hard to prevent others from the same.
          Your type seem to want everyone else to have to go through the same suffering that you did.
          Does it help even the score for you?

        • When Peter Dunne misled the electorate with advertising that gave the impression United Future wouldn’t support the asset sales, we can put that down to just another dishonest politician. When Peter Dunne came out and tried to claim that the suicide rate was declining when it wasn’t, that was pretty despicable as well… But this really takes the cake.

          Now we have Dunne’s propagandist claiming that we shouldn’t feed hungry kids in schools because some parents are abusive… That’s about as lame an argument as you can get.

          I was so poor Pete George claims that my Dad had to get another job and my mum had to work night shifts. Do you see the problem there? Both your parents were working at a time when most families could survive on one income.

          Yes! Some parents do have addiction problems… But how the fuck is starving kids going to help those things? How is cutting funding for treatment centres so those parents can be rehabilitated going to help? How is cutting funding for budgeting services going to help feed those kids Pete George?

          Displaying your absolute ignorance by not understanding that welfare (and many low waged jobs for that matter) no longer ensures people can pay their bills and buy enough food each week just shows how deluded and removed from reality United Future supporters are.

          Why do you think inequality has recently increased the fastest of all OECD countries? Why do you think food banks are struggling to keep up with demand?

          As usual the devil is in the detail, detail you and Peter Dunne seem hell bent on ignoring. If children don’t have enough sustenance to be able to learn properly, it leads onto far more costly socio economic problems, including those you’re using now as an excuse to do nothing.

          Your simpering justifications for Dunne’s heartlessness and blame the victim mentality are thoroughly disgusting Pete George.

        • “the mother of all budgets set the benefits just below the nutritional minimums so that those on welfare are hungry enough to not want to stay on welfare”

          Yeah, right. How did they manage to judge that with accuracy for a huge range of circumstances?

          Pete, here is a 1996 documentary which you will find enlightening – Someone Else’s Country

        • “And by the way, some parents are to blame. ”

          Ergo, punish their children?

          Carrying that principle further, if parents commit a crime – do we imprison their children?

          “And some parents are simply poor parents.”

          And some, after paying fixed coasts like rent/mortgage, electricity, and other outgoings, simply don’t have enough left over for discretionary things like food, clothing, medicines, etc.

          Pete, my family were fairly poor as well. They were refugees who came to this country with only the clothes they were wearing. Literally, the clothes they wore. No suitcases. No money. No families here in an alien country to care for them.

          Yet, the State provided a house for them; dad learned English at night (free) whilst working during the day; mum cared for me and my siblings.

          All through State assistance. Mum also got the Family Benefit, which allowed a few extras by way of groceries.

          I remember free visits to doctors, and for a minimal amount, doctors made house calls when I was burning with fever or vomiting and dehydrating, and mum was at her wits’ end.

          The State paid for it.

          These days, Pete, the atmosphere in this country is even more alien and hostile. Now, if you’re poor, don’t expect State assistance like we got. Instead, expect people like Paula Bennet and John Key and others to demonise the poor as hopeless parents. And expect a phalanx of right wing trolls to condemn the poor as “undeserving” and worse.

          Well, Pete, your parents and mine were poor (I recall a house we lived in, in Norway St, off Aro Street in Wellington – one half of it had collapsed through rot) – but I doubt you’d call your folks or mine “hopeless”.

          Our folks were poor, but at least they had state assistance and more than that, they weren’t labelled as “hopeless”.

        • And by the way, some parents are to blame.

          So?

          What’s the relevance there, Pete?

          Why does the child have to go hungry if (and that’s an IF) the parents are at fault?

          Are you telling us that the Right Wing view is that if parents are to blame, that the children must be punished as a result?

          If so, let’s see Dunne campaign on that position at the next election.

      • Martin, your accusation of hating children is ridiculous. Tomorrow I’m having a dinner with children and grandchildren – feeding them. )That will be similar to many families around New Zealand on Mother’s day).

        Next week I’m visiting another daughter in Australia, she is on her own with children while her husband is away.

        I love children.

        For the last ten years I have donated part of my wages every month to a charity that helps families and communities to feed their kids better.

        If you care about children and are so keen on them being fed better I presume you must be contributing something other than rhetoric and over the top accusations. Are you?

        • How self congratulating of you Pete, however following the hard right rhetoric you espouse on blaming parents, by donating money to other communities you yourself are helping those parents avoid their responsibilities.

          The absurdity of your inner contradictions in action and thought are a joy to be hold Pete.

          As for what I am doing Pete, I’m working hard on getting a bill through Parliament that will provide breakfast and lunch to the poorest schools in NZ and fighting against a selfish mindset that wants to lay the blame for child poverty at the feet of the parents as a means to absolve their wider responsibilities to the social contract.

          It’s hard going Pete, but I’m in it for the long haul. Despite the sanctimonious nay sayers.

          • I think my approach will achieve more than yours.

            Especially if the over the top rhetoric and accusations continue to be used to try and progress the bill. It’s a counterproductive approach, the more it’s done the more likely the bill is doomed.

            It’s political grandstanding, not effective politics.

            • And you do what you need to do to justify your parents are to blame meme so that nothing changes, but the reality is that feed the kids will become policy the moment this Government loses an election to the left.

              It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen and we will have universal meals in the poorest schools and real change can start being effected on child poverty.

          • No, I don’t advocate for kids to go hungry. No one that I’m aware of advocates for kids to go hungry (apart perhaps from a very small minority terrible parents).

            I’m advocating a different approach to what you are. Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it doesn’t try to address the same problem.

            Your gross misrepresentation approach to disagreeing doesn’t help your argument, it discredits your intent.

          • Piss off Pete George… You’re supporting the idiot Peter Dunne doing nothing, which means you’re advocating for those kids to go hungry.

            You’re totally ignoring the fact that having thousands of hungry kids in schools is an immediate problem that has long-term consequences. You’re not providing any solutions, and simply blaming the victims of a disaster that is caused by the very elitism you’re arguing to protect.

            The right wings argument so far against feeding kids in schools amounts to; ‘the poor should starve; because it’s their fault they’re poor.’

            Claiming that I’m misrepresenting what you’ve written and that the argument against yours is just rhetoric while providing no actual reasoning for these claims just makes you look pathetic! You’re now reduced to using catch phrases that might work in shitty places like Kiwibog, but they won’t work here.

            Peter Dunne might be in parliament because of the support of the business community in Ōhariu, but I very much doubt they’re as heartless as he is. That makes me even more convinced that United Future will be gone after the next election.

            At least there’s some light at the end of the tunnel for the thousands of hungry kids who turn up to school each day without breakfast, even if Peter Dunne will ensure they continue to suffer for now.

            In my opinion you, Pete George, should feel ashamed for supporting Dunne’s wretched and fasle justifications for doing nothing… Don’t be expecting to walk through the pearly gates with such an attitude.

          • You obviously support Peter Dunne’s political inaction Pete George. He’s doing nothing political to curb the problem of children going to school hungry.

            Not going to heaven isn’t just a metaphorical statement, because that inaction is causing actual social disintegration in New Zealand right now. Do you truly believe you are not going to be affected by the widespread impoverishment that has become a lot worse under John Keys government?

            What exactly do you think Jesus meant when he said:

            “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

            Only somebody who is inherently against the words of Christ would advocate for the continued inaction that has allowed 270,000 children in New Zealand to live in poverty… Only somebody who doesn’t believe in the accountability of heaven or hell on earth or in heaven would vote against feeding the poor.

            Are you truly arguing that doing such a simply thing as feeding kids is unachievable in a country that produces an abundance of food?

            Your excuses for not supporting this bill are delusions Pete George.

        • “For the last ten years I have donated part of my wages every month to a charity that helps families and communities to feed their kids better. ”

          Charity to the deserving poor by donations?

          Pete, let me present this to you. Have a read of what some of our home-grown Libertarianz said on this subject.

          Then tell me if these are the sorts of people you want to identify with. In particular, read RICHARD McGRATH’S comments;

          http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/neo-liberal-libertarian-holds-up-victorian-england-as-model-for-success/

  9. A sensible and considered comment from Euan Ross-Taylor:

    I want to add here that I spent 10 years working with true poverty overseas among the homeless (squattors).

    The language being used by people over our ‘hungry’ children in NZ is silly. They are not as far as I have been made aware , ‘starving’. They go to school without eating breakfast. They are being fed the wrong diet.

    My children did not eat breakfast before going to school. They are at university now and still choose not to eat what I would consider a proper breakfast, but then I was brought up on a farm where there were chores to be done before breakfast everyday. We enjoyed our breakfast.

    As much as I do not want to put more work on teachers, I do think that identifying children who are hindered in their learning because of being hungry is/should be part of successful teaching practise.

    Having a social worker attached to each school to follow up with the identified families would be much more helpful than blanket feeding programs.

    If the families of these kids still continue their neglect, the social workers could have a budget to provide lunchbags to the said kids on arriving at school, until such time as the parents of said kids could be convinced one way or another to provide better for their children.

    I can’t see why this is so difficult.

    http://yournz.org/2013/05/11/theres-poverty-and-theres-nz-poverty/

    • I can see why you agree with Euan Ross-Taylor… His comment isn’t based on reality or best practice, much like your argument Pete George.

      Having a social worker attached to each school to follow up with the identified families would be much more helpful than blanket feeding programs.

      Is that why every social agency in New Zealand that studies such things are advocating for food programs in decile 1 and 2 schools Pete George?

      Where is your evidence (not opinions) that having a social worker identify families who are struggling is better than feeding all kids who turn up to school without breakfast or lunch? How exactly will that ensure these kids aren’t further stigmatized by a system that separates people out into them and us?

    • So as long as we kind find a country where kids are eating less, we’re doing OK? Right wingers really are miserable scum.

    • ” Having a social worker attached to each school to follow up with the identified families would be much more helpful than blanket feeding programs.

      If the families of these kids still continue their neglect, the social workers could have a budget to provide lunchbags to the said kids on arriving at school, until such time as the parents of said kids could be convinced one way or another to provide better for their children.

      I can’t see why this is so difficult.”

      So, why isn’t it done?

      Instead of suggesting it – why isn’t it being implemented?

      “A sensible and considered comment from Euan Ross-Taylor:

      I want to add here that I spent 10 years working with true poverty overseas among the homeless (squattors).”

      Pete, if poor families are spending 75% of their money on accomodation and electricity, and the remainder isn’t enough to buy good, nourishing food; or pick up medicines from the chemist – then that’s poverty. All that’s happened is that the setting has been switched from a Third World nation to a Third World suburb here in NZ.

      After all, the USA is supposed to be the richest nation on the planet. Now tell me; does poverty exist in the USA?

      • No. I grew up on an orchard which was not subsidised by the Government. Two years in three major frost damage caused major financial hardship, no Government assistance.

        In those days there was a small amount of Family Benefit for parents of all children.

        By today’s measure of “poverty” I grew up in poverty. We did get milk in schools but didn’t need it because we milked our own cow – and I didn’t like drinking milk anyway.

        • Maybe your calcium deficiency explains your negative to this simple act of feeding a small percentage of the nations starving kids aswell as a possible extra feeding of an even smaller percent who do have some kind of parentally derived lunch – heaven forbid a few kids get a little extra food and possibly grow up to be medical researchers and find cures for cancer or other equally positively contributing members of society – some of us can see a positive potential future for our country whereas others like you Pete/s like to tie up simple progressive legislation with anything they can think of to stop it’s passing.

  10. @ PETE GEORGE…

    For goodness sakes Pete, stop publicly stroking what you think is your big poverty-penis – it does not in anyway create credibility around your “crap parents” copout – it just makes you look like a wanker.

    I put it to you point blank – the simple truth of your convenient complexity around what is so simple even a hungry child can give you the solution, is nothing more than bare naked ego masquerading as a social conscience and the moral gymnastics you exploit to feed your own sense of superiority. Ironic isn’t it.

  11. what blathering, a decent school “blanket feeding” ( if you must use a term more suited to spraying herbicide) would as well as de-escalate hunger amongst the younger (oh, rhyme) employ people in schools’ lunch programmes. If Dunne wants extra wax for his beehive, a celebrity chef like Jamie Oliver would I am sure visit for consultation & make everything shiny.

  12. Pete — did you receive free milk when you were at school? Did you have to go to the dental nurse?

    Food in schools is merely the same thing as the free milk in school initiated, as well as the school dental nurses, so I get a feeling that you would have opposed those programmes as well had you been a blogger in the 1930’s.

    Or is it that you just generally oppose any universal taxpayer program because you are just ideologically opposed to public social welfare type programs, and it should be just Tory charity.

    • It’s nonsensical suggesting I oppose all social welfare because I’m questioning whether the Mana bill is the best way to address a problem.

      Dunne is suggesting an alternative state funded approach, and I agree with that more than I agree with Mana’s bill, which I think is well intended but misguided.

      We have an extensive (and expensive) social welfare system and I agree with the need for most of that. Families and kids are already extensively assisted by the state.

      I think smarter better targeted assistance would help kids more than feeding a lot when a few are hungry while not addressing the causes of the problem.

      If half a billion dollars a year was available to help kids do you really think feeding all kids in school would be the best use of that money?

      • But Pete, where are all your glorious stories of baby boomer rose tinted glasses of yore??? Yell us about the magical world before user pays uncle Pete, measure them against todays standards and tell us all how lucky we are.

        We need universal food schemes like they run in most developed country’s around the world. We all appreciate from your great vantage point that the suffering of children is a more academic thing to be spoken of in wide brushes, but for those of us who have to inherit your corrupted legacy, we’d like to make change now and feeding the kids in the lowest two deciles does that.

        At $100m per year it is not half a billion dollars at all, so please at least stick to the facts while you rush around to defend Peter Dunne’s inaction.

        Poverty denial is as low as climate denial.

        • We don’t NEED universal food schemes. They are one of a number of possible options.

          It’s said to be $100m for decile 1-2 schools. Some have said the obvious, that’s just a beginning, for 20% of kids. You have implied that too – a universal food in schools scheme would be closer to half a billion dollars. That’s simple maths.

          Do you think a universal food in schools programme would be the best use of half a billion dollars a year?

          • You are lying again – it is $100million per year it is not half a billion dollars. If you can’t spin lines from yesteryear do you just make shit up in the present do you Pete?

          • Perhaps you didn’t understand my point.

            How much do you think a universal food in schools programme would cost per year?

            • I understand perfectly well, you are justifying your political inaction on this issue and so have attempted to inflate the annual cost by $400 million to desperately make your invalid and extremely weak point.

              That’s pretty obvious.

          • We don’t NEED universal food schemes. They are one of a number of possible options.

            Well, can you tell us then, Pete, why you think our Scandinavian cuzzies have food-in-schools programmes?

        • Or putting it another way, is spending $100m per year feeding all kids in decile 1-2 schools better than feeding all hungry kids across all deciles?

          If feeding hungry kids is seen as an urgent priority then surely suggesting excluding hungry kids in deciles 3-10 will condemn you to Jackal’s hell.

          • LMAO – let me get this straight shall we? After all your spin attacks against the feed the kids bill, your fall back position after all the rose tinting pre-user pays baby boomer crap is ‘what about the hungry kids at other schools????’

            That’s the best poverty denial you can muster is it Pete? We shouldn’t target the poorest children in the poorest classes because there might be some other hungry kids in other schools?

            Well that nonsense argument might be all that needs to intellectually justify your inaction on this issue, it isn’t mine Pete.

          • “What about the hungry kids at other schools” is an important point.

            If you and Mana thought that feeding hungry kids was an urgent need then you would support a policy that would feed hungry kids, not feed kids in 20% of schools and exclude many hungry kids going to other schools.

            And if you were serious about hungry kids you would be considering the many kids who don’t go to school – good nutrition for babies and infants is at least as important as food for kids who go to school.

            And nutrition of pregnant women is also vital for the wellbeing of babies.

            Isn’t it?

            • Yawn – your attempt to show you ‘care’ for the other hungry children is just sad far right tactics to do nothing. The MANA bill is focused on the poorest kids in the poorest schools – for you to dare stand there and write that effort off because it won’t feed all kids is hysterical because you have no bloody intention of feeding the other kids Pete.

              All we’ve heard from you is ‘I was poor (during full state assistance) and it didn’t hurt me’ to lying about it costing half a billion per year to ‘we can’t feed the poorest kids in the poorest schools because it won’t feed other hungry kids’.

              These are not the rational debates of a person who wants to contribute, they are hard right poverty denial.

          • These are not the rational debates of a person who wants to contribute, they are ignoring legitimate and important questions about whether the Mana bill is the best sort of targeting.

            Many kids, some of whom will live in difficult situations and some of whom will go to school hungry, are not covered by the bill.

            In his post Frank said:
            “The Mana Party’s “Feed the Kids” Bill is designed to alleviate this growing cancer in our society and to give children a chance for a decent start in life.”

            Children’s lives start about 9 months before they are born. The problems of disadvantaged kids, hungry kids, starving kids, starts long before they get to school.

            If anyone is serious about helping hungry kids they will consider far more than this bill covers.

            And targeting the source of the problems makes far more sense to me. I think Mana have a flawed bill, and the bill has counter-productive promoters.

            I don’t have any say in whether the bill will pass or not, I can offer my opinion but that is one of many. The fact is it looks like the bill will fail, it’s a failed opportunity.

            So I think it’s important to look at the wider issues, it is a complex problem that deserves far more debate than is offered here. And ultimately it deserves far smarter targeted assistance.

            • And i think you reek of poverty denial and are floundering badly in terms of offering up any actual argument against feeding the poorest children in the poorest schools with your crocodile tears about all the other kids. You are using that as a barrier to progress.

              After your baby boomer nostalgia and inflated hysteria over the cost you actually offer nothing to the debate.

              Which puts you and Peter Dunne in good company.

          • Inaction at this point is the only negative outcome where these kids are concerned this – creating a scenario of piling up so many other associated issues to the point it ends up being a steaming pile of a shitstorm that no one can deal with and therefore causing inaction is at best utterly ignorant and at worst dishonest subterfuge

  13. Maths – do the maths and get off your high horse. We are crating dolism under this system – some of us want that ended – and one, just one of many way we can action that, is to give kids a break and give them breakfast – why the hell won’t you embrace that with both hands? Especially, if it means down the line we have well educated and able citizens. Or is this the baby boom mentality of were immortally right and were the best, so fuck the next generation and the next and the next? Because Mr George you sound just like one of those baby boomer’s.

    • Pete George says:
      May 12, 2013 at 8:55 am

      In his post Frank said:
      “The Mana Party’s “Feed the Kids” Bill is designed to alleviate this growing cancer in our society and to give children a chance for a decent start in life.”

      Pete replied:
      “Children’s lives start about 9 months before they are born. The problems of disadvantaged kids, hungry kids, starving kids, starts long before they get to school.

      If anyone is serious about helping hungry kids they will consider far more than this bill covers.”

      What?

      Pete, you’re using other problems to deny solving hungry kids at school???

      You keep referring to other ways to help hungry kids. Yet where are your suggestions? What is Dunne’s Bill in Parliament offering an alternative?

      You condemn the Mana Party initiative – but your Party offers nothing by way of a practical alternative. If you have one, you’re not telling us, and that suggests you’re on a mission to nay-say and nothing more.

      You can come up with every reason under the sun, but until Peter Dunne shows his hand and puts a Bill before the House – all we can assume is that you have no solutions.

      As Patton said (hat-tip to Aaron Gilmore), either lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.

      Because, with respect, while you’re sitting in front of your computer with a full belly and your kids are nicely tucked up asleep, having had their dinners, 275,000 kids in poverty are not so lucky.

      I’m sorry that sometimes this makes you feel like I’m laying a “guilt trip” on you. That is not my intention. (It’d be a pointless exercise.)

      But if you’re feeling ‘guilty’, then that has nothing to do with me. I’m responsible for my own emotions, not yours.

      You may want to look at why you’re feeling that way.

  14. Pete, you didnt answer my question — would you have opposed the implementation school dental service if you were around in the 1930’s?

    The same arguments against a food in schools program could be used against the school dental program (parents should be responsible for a child’s oral health, etc)

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