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Wilful ignorance is not bliss for hungry kids

By   /  March 14, 2015  /  75 Comments

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It’s not rocket science – it’s not even rocket lolly science – it’s just plain bloody obvious.

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Late last year the Prime Minister said during Parliamentary Question Time that principals have told him that only one or two kids per school are hungry.  He’s said as much again this week. Teachers everywhere cocked their heads, knitted their eyebrows and muttered, “What the…”

“Sounds like a Tui ad…no hungry kids..yeah right.” said one teacher.

“It’s all very “let them eat cake,” said another observer.”

It transpires that John Key mostly visits very high decile schools, throwing only the occasional visitational crumb at the lowest decile schools. And of course if you only speak to principals of schools with students from our better paid families, it’s safe to say you’d not hear a great deal about kids with empty lunch boxes.

ignorance-is-NOT-blissI also spoke to a teacher who noted that in her decile 2 school the rest of the kids must be well fed because the “one or two” without a decent lunch were in her class. The freezer full of basics bread and jam sandwiches, the fruit and veg given by charity, the milk they get daily, all that must be just for her two kids.

You’d have to be wilfully ignorant or just plain stupid not to accept what teachers are telling us – that the poorer the families of students in a school, the higher the incidence of poverty related issues, such as hunger and poor health.

It’s not rocket science – it’s not even rocket lolly science – it’s just plain bloody obvious. 

John Key worries that a system that provides children with a decent lunch absolves parents of the obligation to feed their children. Hey, John, it might indeed absolve some – but you know what, I really don’t give a monkey’s. No matter what leads to students having empty or inadequate lunch boxes, the kids themselves are not at fault. The kids need food.  They deserve food. They have a right to the best chance to succeed.

Perhaps, rather than all of this denial, the government could stop throwing cash at charter schools and look at the root of the issues faced by our poorest students instead. Or is dealing with these issues head on too much for them?

Perhaps they’d prefer to keep hiding behind ideology and cocky jokes? After all, there’s none so blind as those that will not see.

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75 Comments

  1. wild katipo says:

    Back to the 19th century coal mines and kids working 16 hour days up chimneys with ‘ Full Take ‘ John XKEYscore .

    The only things this maggot takes is our sovereignty , our assets, our wages , our communities , our integrity….and now this …..

    Even the food from the children’s mouths……

    What an ASSHOLE .

  2. Lara says:

    In the short term it actually does not matter what the reason for hungry children is. If a child is hungry you feed it. To do anything else, to advocate any other course of action, is to be lacking in empathy and just stupid and cruel.

    We can feed the kids, while we also look at the causes of poverty. We can actually do both.

  3. Nehemia Wall says:

    The responsibility for feeding kids rests solely with parents, not the Govt. That said, a Got scheme that fed children of households receiving state assistance and then deducted the cost from that assistance might be an option.

    • Nehemia/Intrinsicvalue – Spoken like a true right-winger who looks after his own interests, and cares nothing for the society he lives in?

      No doubt you’ve enjoyed free healthcare and education in your life? So the responsibility of those State-provided services obviously met with your approval?

      • Nehemia Wall says:

        “No doubt you’ve enjoyed free healthcare and education in your life? So the responsibility of those State-provided services obviously met with your approval?”

        Well I’m not sure about education being free, my parents tell me they paid school fees, paid for school trips and sports participation throughout my education. And I have had private health insurance for as long as I can remember. But here’s the thing…I’ve never asked the Govt to feed my kids. Never have, never will.

    • Dianne Khan Dianne Khan says:

      Because nothing says “help children achieve” better than keeping them hungry or beating up on their parents. Nice, NW/IV, Nice.

      • Nehemia Wall says:

        Nothing says ‘help children achieve’ like teaching them individual responsibility. Did John Key’s mother need the Govt to feed her children? Bob Jones’?

    • Brigid says:

      “The responsibility for feeding kids rests solely with parents, not the Govt” What rule book is that written in?

      • Wild Katipo says:

        The neo liberal drongo book , mate.

        Unfortunately for them it is now outdated and out of print as no one is interested in any new editions.

      • Nehemia Wall says:

        The same rule book that says those of us who pay taxes are sick of subsidising the life styles of the rich and famous, and the poor and indolent.

        • Andrea says:

          Maaate!

          EVERYONE pays taxes. D’oh! Look at your supermarket slip. Notice those three little letters – GST.

          And, if you are fool enough to save – also notice the other three little letters – RWT – even on a miserable monthly interest amount of less than 10c. The foot of the miser on the neck of a striver.

          This country is taxed to the tip of the peen block (the last stop on the hilt).

          And – those terrible awful feckless overbreeding tax-sucking – aw shucks – YOU know
          THEY PAY TAXES.

          Remember – there are mean uncaring kid-starving breeders among the Gloriously Taxed, too. Paying tax is neither an indicator of responsible parenting nor a virtue.

          • Nehemia Wall says:

            I don’t recall saying I was the only one who paid taxes! My point was I want my taxes to go to those in genuine need, not those whose problems arise through their own irresponsibility.

            • elle says:

              You can blame the parents of hungry children all you like, but the children still go hungry, our concern should be that .Its not the childs fault they have no lunch ,anymore than its your fault your parents might have brought you up with lack of empathy and a judgemental attitude toward less than perfect parents, and an uncaring “im alright jack attitude” which has rubbed off from your “perfect” leader.

            • elle says:

              Or maybe you would rather your taxes go to John Keys pet project ,changing the flag to give him kudos, or maybe you would like to only pay taxes for what you want,selfish much N Wall, tired of your stupid selfrighteous arguments ,most people on this site just want children to be properly fed not your take on the reasons why they shouldn’t be fed and the blame game .

    • kiwiburger says:

      God almighty, ive got a couple of relations just like you. One of them was shunted off to a rest home at the appropriate age, all his possessions (houses, car etc) sold, money split between his three kids. No one blamed them for doing that, some family members used to visit him but eventually stopped, they said that he would try the patience of a saint. You reap what you sow.

      • Wild Katipo says:

        Y’know…the problem with being fundamentalist or ‘exclusive’ is that automatically you elevate yourself way above the rest of humanity in your own minds ( your minds , – no ones else’s ) ………..

        And end up saying and believing the most REDICULOUS THINGS.

        The psuedonym Nehemia Wall – ( who believes mass surveillance full take data retrieval is good yet still uses a psuedonym ) – is testament to this fact by constantly offering the most ludicrous statements on these forums.

      • Nehemia Wall says:

        My elderly parents both live together after 60+ years of marriage, still in their own home. Me and my siblings look after them, just as they looked after us as we were growing up. My parents were for many years Labour voters, we grew up with Labour values, and many of those I still hold on to today. I will help anyone anytime who wants to improve their life or the lives of their families. I will feed my neighbours kids if they have fallen on tough times, I will teach them how to plant a garden, take them shopping, get their kids involved in sports. But I will never, ever, support paying for free lunches for the indolent. “There is no such thing as a free lunch” – Nehemia Wall.

        • Andrea says:

          “Me and my siblings look after them” ‘I…look after them.’ If you please.

          ” But I will never, ever, support paying for free lunches for the indolent.” No one is asking you to – apart from subsidising Bellamy’s and the frequent nosh-ups of reckless and feckless city councillors.

          You’ve indicated a Labour background and you are speaking in the ways of working class Labour.

          I do agree with you about the idlers and bludgers.

          However, people of that mind can usually use their wits and elbows to get all they want: it’s the strivers who cop the flak and have no clues as to how to even use the systems – let alone rort them successfully.

          A hand-out might be just the hand-up needed to let a desperate parent get up and get going again.

          Be kind.

          • Nehemia Wall says:

            Hi Andrea…Good comments, thanks. Yes I have no problem with an occasional hand out. I deliver food parcels so I know that sometimes people need that care. It’s the recidivist offenders that get my goat, and there are many of them.

            • wild katipo says:

              You think your unique in having ‘ Labour ‘ values, buddy?…And you conveniently forget YOU and Keys mother had the awesome benefit of a social democratic Keynesian style economy !!!!!!!!!

              YOU BULLSHIT ARTIST !!!!!!!

              What do you think we have now , fool?

              Its called neo liberalism- haven’t you kept up with the times???!!

              And knock off that feigned working class values crap ,Wall – you don’t fool anybody .

              You think your the only ones who haven’t had parents like that?

              Go tell all the Pacific Islanders who more often than not get paid minimum wage and work long hours – AND STILL look after their elders !!!

              Go tell that to all the people of minimum wages – all 300,000 of em that they don’t deserve a better way of life you bastard.

              Go tell that to all the single mothers who were bashed and had to leave with the kids and now live on /under the breadline you prick.

              Go tell that to the unemployed who have been looking for work- many of them who are better qualified than you , ya dork !

              Go tell that to struggling families who can barely pay the exorbitant rents and need WINZ supplements – caused by neo liberal assholes just like YOU!

              YOU SELF CENTERED BASTARD !!!

              • Nehemia Wall says:

                You exaggeration is of mind boggling proportions. And your history is very weak indeed.

                NZ’s prosperity in my childhood (the 1960’s) was largely the result of ‘mother England’ and other Commonwealth countries taking all of our dairy produce. It was a different world, one you may lament, but one that has gone forever.

                Since the mid 1980’s NZ has responded in a fashion that represents sound economic management (with the exception being some elements of Labour’s last 3 years in office between 2005 and 2008). We are currently the envy of the world, and virtually every economic indicator is pointing in the right direction.

                Perhaps if you got your head out of your backside and actually did some reading beyond Karl Marx you’d learn a thing or two.

                • Funny thing, Nehemia/Intrinsicvalue – our dairy and meat exports have increased considerably since the 1960s – and yet we are still struggling to pay our way in the world and our unemployment, housing, child poverty, and wealth disparity is worse now than it ever has been. We are working harder and longer hours, for less.

                  So I doubt very much if we are the “envy of the world”.

                  As for your childish abuse to Katipo – methinks you are fast running out of ideas and resorting to silly name-calling? I doubt that tactic will gain you much traction here.

            • kiwiburger says:

              And most of them are running our country.

        • elle says:

          All these indolent children thanks you .Nehemia Wall

  4. Brigid says:

    You’re not going to get this society of greedies to agree to have their tax dollars to be spent feeding kids, as is done in Scandinavian countries. It just wont happen.

  5. Andrew says:

    If you can’t feed them, don’t breed them

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      You agree with China’s one child policy , then. Perhaps you’re living in the wrong country mate.

    • SARAH says:

      Would you deny my children food? How do you sleep at night with that attitude.

      Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before you make insulting comments like that.

    • Delia Morris says:

      Does not really help the hungry child though, does it Andrew, because that is what we are talking about here hungry kids.

    • Dianne Khan Dianne Khan says:

      I presume you missed the bit about it NOT being the KIDS’ fault? Heartless sod.

      • Nehemia Wall says:

        Yes Dianne, but at least he isn’t mindless. The more the state does for people, the less they will feel inclined to do for themselves. It’s a beneficiary trap that exploits the nature of certain humans who will always be happy to live off my taxes.

    • Gosh, Andrew, how long did it take you to parrot that cliche? Have you ever done any original thinking of your own?

      So tell us, my clever little parrot; why do you think it’s the children’s fault that they were born into low-income families?

      And do you also blame children who are born into families where there is addiction? Violence? Sexual abuse?

      Come on, Andrew, give us a parroted cliche to explain all this.

      I’m curious what repetitive garbage you can offer us.

      • cleangreen says:

        Hey Frank why don’t we keep a Blame & Shame register of all these redneck right winger trolls.

        Gooseman
        Nehemia/Intrinsic value – less.
        Andrew.
        Theres a list to begin with o/k.

    • Lara says:

      To the “can’t feed, don’t breed” brigade, with you as a member, consider these points:

      1. Not all contraception is always 100% effective all the time.

      2. Poor people should be allowed to have sex, it’s a basic human desire that we cannot begin to make illegal or wrong just because you’re poor.

      3. Peoples situations change. Nice middle class people who have kids while they have a nice middle class income, may find (as in for example, a global recession, we had one in 2008) that the main breadwinner loses a job and has difficulty finding another one. What should they do with their children when this happens? Put them back in?

      4. Not every pregnancy is the result of consensual sex.

      So unless you want to enforce an income level below which people aren’t allowed to have children, or you want to enforce abortion for the poor or sterilisation for the poor (what happens later in their lives if they’re not poor anymore? still sterile after that one) then your “can’t feed don’t breed” is logistically impossible, or only possible in a society which begins to look rather like Hitler’s Germany.

      I don’t think you’ve thought this one through very carefully.

      • Nehemia Wall says:

        1. And even less so when you can’t be bothered taking it.
        2. Agreed. Use contraception.
        3. Agreed. That’s why we have existing welfare benefits/WFF which are already very generous.
        4. True. And again we support victims of rape, as we damn well should.

        There is ample welfare and other support without feeding peoples kids on the public tit (pardon the expression).

        • Lara says:

          You insinuate poor people have too many children because they “can’t be bothered” taking contraception?

          You’ve avoided the fact that contraception is not always 100% effective even when correctly used. What do you advocate then? Forced abortion for the poor?

          Welfare benefits are not generous, they’re not enough to live on. Go to the work and income website. Find out how much sole parent support benefit + accommodation allowance is. No working for families for the unemployed remember. Then to TradeMe to see how much you could rent a flat for you and your kid. Do your sums. You’ll see quickly that it’s not enough to live on, particularly in Auckland. And remember, many solo parents can’t move because of child custody arrangements.

          Calculate a 40 hour working week at minimum wage $14.25 an hour, less tax, plus working for families. Do your sums. You’ll quickly see it’s hardly enough to live on.

          It’s not hard. It’s simple math actually. The data is readily available, I’m not doing it for you because it’s pretty clear you need to go through this process yourself to gain an understanding.

          There is not ample welfare.

          And finally, your assertion that we support victims of rape is untrue. It was untrue for me and for a great many people who have been raped. I’ve lived it and I’m telling you it’s not true. So if you want to make such an absurd claim the onus is on you to provide evidence.

          Roastbusters, Louise Nicholls and a great many other rape cases show us quite publicly we not only don’t support rape victims we undermine and disbelieve them. So just stop with that line.

        • Existing welfare benefits, Nehemia/Intrinsicvalue, are not “generous”. I doubt you even know how much they are.

          No one in their right mind gives up a job earning $570 a week to go on the dole to receive $210 a week.

          If you think that is the case, maybe you should try it yourself and see how long you last.

    • elle says:

      True, but the kids didn’t ask to be born and they still are hungry ,no matter how many brothers and sisters they have.
      Remember save the children first, then check the parents ability to pay or judge them as you wish.

  6. Mike in Auckland says:

    There are many sides to this story about hungry school kids.

    I think it is happening, and it will be more common in certain areas where the relative poverty of parents is evident. It will be so in parts of South Auckland, and some other suburban areas, same as in regions like Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Eastern Bay of Plenty and around Whanganui.

    But as that is not a majority, the government gets away with doing what most in society do. They turn the other way and ignore the problem, and if it is raised, it gets ridiculed, or blamed on poor parenting. The latter is in a fair few cases probably part of the problem, but then it tends to be generational, and due to lack of alternatives to live off a meagre benefit that is neither enough to live from nor to die on.

    Let us be totally honest, the bulk of the so called “middle class” cannot be bothered with solving this issue, and Key knows it, and hence his government’s inaction. It also does not fit their ideological line to feed kids in school. John Key may identify with the refugees in Syria and Iraq, and hence see a justification to send Kiwi soldiers to “train” Iraqi soldiers in Iraq, to fight ISIS. His mother was basically a refugee. But when it comes to child poverty, he has less sympathy.

    It would also mean an admission of guilt, to start feeding all school kids, as it would be solving a problem they have for too long ignored. Admitting it ever existed would make them feel and look bad. So all they dish up is “Kids Can”, or what it is called.

    As for the poor parents and poor kids, maybe get used to what many others in poverty and on benefits face, the sick and disabled, who have not even been talked about, despite of the draconian benefit reforms pressuring many to try and work and compete with the fittest for jobs. They are ignored, so are you!

    Where also have Labour and Greens put them on their agenda?

    And it is not all due to child poverty, that lunch boxes may be empty. I live next to two schools, and the lunch bar selling crap food down from there is doing great business. Chips, pies, sugary buns and drinks galore, and the money is there to buy it. And the waste gets kindly thrown onto the side of the street and on lawns of houses around. So much for “empty lunch boxes”.

    But that is also due to the Nats having done away with healthy food in schools, have they not?!

  7. Andrew says:

    You’ve not heard that “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”?

    Indeed I may be a heartless sod, but I’m not a brainless one…

    How many of these children are hungry because there is simply no money or hungry because their parents choose to spend it on something else? And once you’ve provided free breakfasts will free lunches and dinners be next?

    I was a child brought up on welfare. But my Mum didn’t smoke or drink and I worked a veggie garden to supplement our state income. As a result I never missed a meal.

    • Dianne Khan Dianne Khan says:

      Sorry Andrew, I didn’t realise that one anecdotal story of your life is sufficient to justify social policy for a whole country.

      • Andrew says:

        Dianne

        That anecdote means I’m immune from middle class guilt. 😉

        It’s nice that you feel empathy for hungry children but I would like you to engage your brain as well as your heart.

        Consider the following ‘thought experiments’:

        1. Are all children in welfare families hungry and if not what are the parents of the well nourished ones doing that the others are not?

        2. A starving stray cat is at your door. You feed it, only to find a few weeks later that it has produced a litter of kittens, now also starving. Was your action good or bad?

        3. The population of Ethiopia is now higher than it was before the 80’s drought which killed so many. Did Bob Geldoff do the Ethiopians a favour or not?

        Like I said, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. 😉

        Keep using that muscle between your ears and beware anyone trying to pull heart strings.

        • Andrew – how could your mum grow veges all year round?

          Please explain that biological/agricultural anomaly to us?

          And, I’m guessing your mum rented. So when your family was periodically evicted by the landlord, how did you survive in between growing new plots of food?

          Your cliches really do seem so childishly simplistic. I doubt you’ve ever lived a life of poverty. If you had, you wouldn’t be offering us the absolute rubbish that you have.

        • elle says:

          Maybe you believe in euthanasia Andrew,or abortion if a second child born,if you do go live in china.
          it seems what you suggest is let the children die of hunger in case they themselves breed children.In Ethiopia led the population die out is that it ?

        • elle says:

          Maybe you believe in euthanasia Andrew,or abortion if a second child born,if you do go live in china.
          it seems what you suggest is let the children die of hunger in case they themselves breed children.In Ethiopia let the population die out is that it ?

    • Stuart Munro says:

      You might find that current welfare arrangements are rather less generous than when you were growing up. Cost of living has risen too.

      • Nehemia Wall says:

        No, welfare arrangements are far more generous today than they were in the 60’s when I was growing up. There was no WFF (middle class welfare) that’s for sure.

        • The Daily Blog Martyn Bradbury says:

          Because full employment didn’t require it – FFS Wall-IV, whatever your name is, smarten up your trolling, it’s embarrassing. Welfare in the 60s was gold plated, it’s shit encrusted now.

    • Nehemia Wall says:

      I frequently drive through the main low decile areas of Auckland, particularly out west. Not a vege garden to be seen.

      • kiwiburger says:

        OMG i just had a vision of you leaping fences, clipboard in hand to check out back yards, hahahaha, first real belly laugh of the week, thank you.

  8. Dianne Khan Dianne Khan says:

    Research (as in, NOT anecdotal evidence) shows that hunger contributes to toxic stress, which affects that person’s whole life. You might want to read about the work of Shonkoff and the Harvard Center on the Developing Child.

    If you want to read more about it, with an open mind, you might want to start here: http://dianeravitch.net/2012/11/17/poverty-and-stress-can-damage-childrens-lives/

    • Andrew says:

      I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this is true Dianne: None of us wish to see kids going hungry.

      So focus again on how we can achieve our common objective. Won’t free meals just increase the tendency of bad parents to dump their kids on the doorstep of the state? Won’t it become just another entitlement and so more money would go to ciggies and beersies?

      Just like DPB created a generation of solo mums with children abused by their boyfriends?

      Are you familiar with the law of unintended consequences?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unintended_consequences

      • Chch_Chiquita says:

        I’m not sure how all of this is helping the current hungry children. fact is there are hungry kids. Do you agree with this fact or are you denying it like Key does?
        If you agree then first step is feed the kids. From here you as the government have enough resources to investigate why those kids are hungry and what are the necessary measures to stop it and put the responsibility back into the parents hand.
        But by the time you finish the investigation and implementation the kids are eating and learning better and you educate a productive member of society.

        • Dianne Khan Dianne Khan says:

          Hear hear

        • Nehemia Wall says:

          Bollocks. Next you’ll want us to clothe them, transport them to school, buy them all computers and televisions…

          • Chch_chiquita says:

            Hmmm… ‘Bollocks’. Now that is a deeply thought and researched argument.

            Don’t know about television but if they need cloths then yes, I will buy them (I actually already do – it’s called giving to charity) and if they need to take a bus to school then yes the bus needs to be free; computers too if it is what the ministry decides is needed for their education. My son have just received a free iPad from his school (on loan). All year 5-6 children did. It shouldn’t be a privilege of a decile 9 school only nor a punishment for kids that their parents can not afford to buy them one via the BYOD scheme.
            I don’t know why we, the tax payers, have enough money to pay for the ill-management of corporates but not enough to make sure our most vulnerable are looked after.

          • elle says:

            No we expect nothing from you Nehemia,your words are boring and predictable typical right wing, always right .

      • So focus again on how we can achieve our common objective. Won’t free meals just increase the tendency of bad parents to dump their kids on the doorstep of the state? Won’t it become just another entitlement and so more money would go to ciggies and beersies?

        Only in your strange world, Andrew.

        I’d wager you cannot offer us any data as to the percentage of families allegedly wasting their incomes on “ciggies and beersies”.

        Do you have the stats?

        Any data at all that you can prove your assertions, and prove that you’re not full of ignorant bigotry?

        Because all you’re doing is parroting bigotry, without any facts to prove your assertions.

        The reason you’re doing this is twofold;

        1. You’re deliberately trolling and trying to wind us up. (No wonder you don’t put your name to your comments.)

        2. In case you actually believe your parroted tripe, you’re avoiding confronting the real world. If hunger and poverty are lifestyle choices, according to you, there’s no need for you to be concerned, right?

        The only thing you’re succeeding in achieving is demonstrating the ugly side of the right-wing mind-set. Any member of the public reading your comments – if they are fair-minded – will recognise your comments for what they are; mindless; parroted; ignorant bigotry.

        Yours is not the New Zealand way.

    • Nehemia Wall says:

      Oh it may well do. I understand there are studies showing that children benefit from playing sport. Should the Govt pay for all children to join a sporting club? Or what about a scout group? A social club/youth group because of the emotional harm cased by social isolation? What about housing all farmers children in the cities. You see Dianne you may be well intentioned, but welfare is a tide that has to be controlled before it bankrupts us, morally and financially.

  9. Brigid says:

    Your claim that the consequences of providing free lunches to kids is that the parents will become state dependent is incorect. Absolutley. The practise of providing free meals to kids in Finland proves this. For gods sake do some research on the subject.

    • Nehemia Wall says:

      Actually Brigid, you should do some research of your own.

      Try this article, that includes several studies on the topic, and was written by a senior lecturer in economics at the University of Canterbury.

      http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/breakfast-schools-it-just-doesnt-work-ck-140329

      You might also be interested in the final comment that refers to this article http://lindsaymitchell.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/feed-kids-bill-starts-with-lie.html that shows that child poverty in NZ declined significantly between 2001 and 2011. WFF has to take much of the credit for that, and as long as the system is managed to ensure sustainability, it will serve NZ well.

      • Dianne Khan Dianne Khan says:

        … and child poverty since 2011?????

        • Nehemia Wall says:

          I can’t find any data for the subsequent period, but anecdotal evidence suggests it has continued to fall. At that is based on the notion of children living in homes with an income less than 60% of the median wage being in poverty, itself an absurd concept. Any poverty we have in NZ is relative poverty only, and largely the result of poor choices. feeding other peoples children will only cause even more state dependency.

          • kiwiburger says:

            And NW therin lies the rub, ‘no data’ why is there no data? Your govt could have that data in the click of a mouse…. you then, with right-eousness on your side, claim we have ‘relative poverty, largely a result of poor choices”, do you notice you are now gazing into a crystal ball? ‘Anecdotal evidence suggests it continues to fall’???? That is not even quantifiable.

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