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UnitedFuture will oppose Harawira's Bill

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

UnitedFuture Ieader Peter Dunne says he will vote against Hone Harawira’s Food in Schools Bill.

"While I have no doubt the Bill is well-intentioned, 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.

"But that is not the issue - rather, the question is what is the best way of addressing this problem," Mr Dunne says.

Mr Harawira’s proposal covers children in level 1 to 2 decile primary schools only, at an estimated cost of around $100 million a year.

However, Mr Dunne says the rejuvenated KidsCan scheme, involving the Government (meeting up to 50% of the costs), Fonterra and Sanitarium covers all decile 1 to 4 schools from years 1 to 13, and from 2014 will be extended to gradually include higher decile schools.

"That is a far more comprehensive and feasible approach, which I support.

"It goes far further and covers more children than Mr Harawira’s Bill, for a fraction of the cost.

"It is therefore a much better approach, and it essentially renders Mr Harawira’s Bill redundant.

Nevertheless, Mr Harawira deserves for raising the issue, and for his persistent advocacy, which I acknowledge, but his Bill has simply been overtaken by events," Mr Dunne says.

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