A new Government report into the lives of the country’s poorest children has shown no measurable improvement in housing conditions, preventable hospitalisations, or food security.
Reducing child poverty has been a hallmark issue for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who appointed herself minister for child poverty reduction. In the lead up to the Covid-19 pandemic, tens of thousands of children had been lifted above income and material hardship since 2018.
The latest Child Poverty Indicators report, published by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) on Thursday, showed that over broader measures including potentially avoidable hospitalisations and regular school attendance, any improvements were marginal or uncertain due to patchy data.
And the uncounted effect of the Covid-19 pandemic continued to loom over the Government’s ability to improve the lives of more than one in 10 children who live in poverty and hardship.
3 immediate things to alleviate poverty right now if Labour had courage.
1 – Raise in Welfare with no MSD claw backs
3 – Universal Free School Lunches and Breakfasts
The first would help out by an extra $50 each week, the second would help out families with an extra $1900 each year and Feeding every kid a free nutritious Breakfast and Lunch would be the single greatest means to lift educational achievement than any other educational policy.
It would directly remove a huge weekly cost to the poorest amongst us, would greatly reduce truancy and would build life long positive ends to education.
Only the bloody MoE could screw up a free lunch…
Schools have been advised to discourage kids from eating their own home-packed lunch, and to wait until kids are hungry, to provide the Government’s free lunches.
But that’s policy a high school principal says doesn’t “sit right with him”.
On its website, The Ministry of Education gives advice for schools for the Ka Ora, Ka Ako programme, under a heading “how to get the most from lunches”.
It suggests schools create a 10-15 minute time slot for the provided lunch only, “while food from home stays in students’ bags”.
The advice also recommends schools wait for kids to get hungry before providing the lunch.
“Choose a time for lunch that will give your staff and ākonga the most opportunity to benefit – healthy food tastes better if you are hungry,” it says.
…kids are reluctant to eat because of the stigma attached to eating them, that’s why they need to be universal and the issue of uneaten lunches needs to be addressed by a better system for distributing uneaten lunches with the homeless.
Labour need to be as bold on poverty as they have on property speculators. If looking after the poorest amongst us isn’t our main concern on the Left, then what the fuck are we here for?
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