Yes extend free food in schools AND cut GST off food and why Max Rashbrooke’s incrementalism is part of the problem


Food inflation is 12.1%, it will be higher during the election.

People need solutions to the obscene price gouging inflation under regulated capitalism is creating in NZ alongside the rent gouging Landlords are quietly conducting against renters.

Expanding universal free food in schools and making that part of a new food security infrastructure is essential as a solution…

Growing calls for free school lunch programme to be extended

Nutrition researchers in New Zealand and overseas are calling for the country’s Ka Ora, Ka Ako Healthy School Lunches Programme to reach more children as food prices continue to rise.

“We think that expanding Ka Ora, Ka Ako is a fairly low-cost way of helping more families to be able to make sure that their kids are getting a healthy meal at least five times a week,” Health Coalition Aotearoa co-chair Associate Professor Lisa Te Morenga told 1News.

“They’re our future tax payers, you know we want them to grow up to lead long, healthy, productive lives.”

Last month’s Budget allocated $323.4 million to extend the initiative until the end of 2024.

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Primary and secondary students in school communities that face the most barriers to receiving an education, around 25% of the total student population or around 220,000 students, are eligible.

“It’s a wonderful thing, especially at this time, and I just hope it doesn’t get taken away from us,” Ngāti Toa School principal Kathleen O’Hare said.

O’Hare said there’s multiple positive impacts from children receiving cooked, nutritious lunches before their afternoon lessons, including increasing student attendance.

She said families were really appreciative.

“It like fills you up and if you have like no food, you could get fed at school,” one boy told 1News.

“Some of us didn’t used to bring lunch but now we can still eat,” a girl said.

University of Auckland’s Growing Up in New Zealand study reports in the past year half of children living in moderately food insecure households, and a third of those living in severely food insecure households, didn’t access Ka Ora, Ka Ako.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Adjunct Professor of Nutrition Juliana Cohen has researched school lunch programmes around the world, from educationally-renowned Finland where all students are fed through the country’s funded school lunch programme, to the United States where states have different rules around which students can access a free lunch.

She says research has consistently shown an access for all approach benefits students the most.

“Their diets are on average better than if a child brought food from home, their academic performance, including math and literacy scores, are on average higher for all students,” she said.

…but we need more than prepackaged lunches prepared by not for charity organisations like ‘Kidscan’.

We need parents involved in the preparation and serving of the food, we need new facilities to broaden the capacity to make meals on site, we need community gardens and we need it to be universal.

We need GST off food because those academics arguing that there are better cost effective ways are simply highlighting their own middle class work from home privilege that ignores ANY reduction in food prices will be gratefully taken by hungry and desperate Kiwis.

The level of poverty desperation is hidden by Dr Incremental, Max Rashbrooke, whose pitiful defence of Labour’s foot dragging over at the eternally compromised Spinoff is made nonsense by CPAGs criticism that the numbers he’s relying on are horrifically compromised and show none of the true magnitude of poverty.

We can not allow Labour Party apologists like Rashbrooke dominate the debate and let Labour off the hook.

Life is far more difficult for many post Covid, pretending it is not out of a misplaced belief that acknowledging how damaged society has become allows National to win the debate is denial of poverty in our communities.

We have much to do and small tweaks are no longer acceptable.

There is an unspoken promise between the neoliberal State and the untaxed capital gains private landlord class that the neoliberal State never builds enough State Houses to alleviate housing desperation so that the untaxed capital gains private landlord class can exploit that housing desperation ON TOP OF getting a $1.5Billion annual subsidy in the form of the Accommodation Allowance EVERY SINGLE YEAR!

So the neoliberal State work hand in glove with the interests of the untaxed capital gains private landlord class to constantly keep desperation in the Housing market by never building enough State Houses WHILE handing taxpayer funded subsidies to the untaxed capital gains private landlord class!

This rigged casino where Landlords can constantly use their own debt to buy more property and out leverage first time home buyers just adds insult to injury.

On top of this, ACT and National want to give that same untaxed capital gains private landlord class the power to evict you at will so they can kick out the smelly domestic renters and exploit the new 100000 migrant workers coming into the country, remove all the healthy home and environmental regulations and put back in place the tax loopholes that benefit the untaxed capital gains private landlord class.

On top of this, the Real Estate pimps are donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Right and are dangling the promise of house prices jumping 20% if National and ACT win.

The Housing Crisis is a political decision and you as renters should be incandescent with motherfucking rage at how this has been allowed to continue!

We have a class war this election but none of the political vocabulary on the Left to fight it  because Identity Politics has replaced Class.

Max Rashbrooke’s incrementalism is part of the problem!


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  1. Martyn – Er, this is part of the reason why Secondary School Teachers are taking industrial counter this for both the Teachers, and schools…keep supporting us

    • Right. And a general strike would have defeated everything Martyn is talking about: the G.S.T. would never have been introduced, the mass fire-sale of state housing and other public assets would have been stopped, and all the high-wage advanced industries would never have been deliberately shut down.

      In regards to inflation, this continuous debasement of the currency could have been prevented with a few simple demands from the unions:— ending the ‘temporary’ suspension of convertibility to gold; reversing debasement of the fineness of circulating coinage; and restoration of full bullion convertibility of bank balances at the teller window (and thus returning to consistently falling prices).

  2. GST off food won’t work. Govt needs bolder supply ideas such as 20x goods through a govt web site and all stores to sell at set price and they get a sale duty.

  3. “ under regulated capitalism..”
    Or did you mean “under-regulated capitalism….”
    The last one the government can fix without a voter mandate if they choose to do so.
    Your favourite solution will require a serious mandate for a political grouping that currently does not exist in NZ. It will take a serious class war to achieve that.

  4. How anyone who is aware of the how the supermarket duopoly works can think that removing gst from food will result in a benifit to the consumer is either been disengenious or deluded.

    Not to mention the carve out making gst far more complicated. Such a dumb idea.

    • Well said .GST of food is promoted by 2 parties Greens and TPM. Neither have a clue on how business works and will wreak this country if they get a say in it running. The GST on food gets tax in from the rich .There are better way to help the poor.School meals are a good idea and will.improve the level of attendance and education results

  5. school meals are a no brainer I was genuinly shocked when I came here that it wasn’t a thing haveing been brought up in the uk in the 60/70s it was just taken as read…..and yes it was pretty much army food(I suspect the cooks were ex-military) and although it wouldn’t meet the standards of current parents(no brie or pate) it was a warm nourishing meal…..we will spend the next 20yrs debating menu.

    • We should copy Australia on the fines they have for using a cellphone while driving.We should follow them on the vaping rules .We should try and match their hospital staffing system but GST of food is a nightmare over there so hopefully it is a no go here .

  6. ;…under regulated capitalism in NZ?’
    Try under-regulated or underregulated. Both are choices; when it comes to correctness, a rose by any other name would smell as foul.

  7. ” We need GST off food because those academics arguing that there are better cost effective ways are simply highlighting their own middle class work from home privilege that ignores ANY reduction in food prices will be gratefully taken by hungry and desperate Kiwis. ”

    Bomber Ranjana Gupta’s study into this subject and her suggestion to target assistance rather than cut GST which will only make a marginal difference to those who need the support and benefit the middle six figure club and the wealthy.

    ” If the primary aim of making fresh fruit and vegetables more affordable is to increase healthy eating, then a cash rebate won’t help. But there are policies in use overseas that New Zealand could use as a starting point to directly help low-income families afford fresh produce. ”

  8. ” We should copy Australia on the fines they have for using a cell phone while driving. ”

    Well over there YOU will be caught because they take road safety and enforcement seriously.

    Unlike here where its every pronoun for him or herself when it comes to driving and adhering to the road rules and thanking god you have survived another journey safely when so many are taking enormous risks to get where they are going.

    In 1992 we had a dedicated road safety enforcement agency until …..Trevor your neo libs thought it would be a good idea to save money and merge the MOT with the police.

    Then the toll and appalling driver behaviour worsened because the police had more important problems to deal with ….COPS don’t become COPS unless they don’t quite cut it in law enforcement or are demoted to traffic patrol.

    I know this because I have talked to the police about our appalling driving stats and lack of enforcement and my sons best mate in college had a father who was in highway patrol in Northland and went on to become a police officer.

    “We should copy Australia on the fines they have for using a cell phone while driving.”

    We have legislation in place but its not ENFORCED which is why all the Kiwi numb nuts break the law when it comes to the road rules.


    The NZ Police HUG then decide if they will enforce silly road safety laws no one observes.

    Its to much paperwork and not exciting enough…… Trevor


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