Monday, December 4, 2023

Milestone on menu for school lunch programme

The Government’s healthy lunches in school programme Ka Ora, Ka Ako has ramped up to deliver a million free lunches to school kids every week, the Prime Minister has revealed.

The programme this week hit a two-year milestone, delivering 63 million free lunches to date, and now reaching over 220,000 kids at 950 schools.

“We know a full stomach makes a big difference to a child’s learning,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Evaluation of the healthy lunches programme shows what a positive impact the lunches are having on learners. Reducing hunger, improving mental and physical well-being have all been positive impacts of healthy lunches, the Prime Minister said.

“This is a Government initiative that has proven to be especially important as we deal with global cost of living pressures,” she said.

“It’s not a silver bullet to the tough times we are facing, but in tandem with our income increases, fuel excise cuts, half price public transport, and cost of living payment it can and does make a difference.

“Free lunches has supported the Government’s efforts to tackle child poverty, roughly 66,500 children have been lifted from poverty and there have been reductions in all nine measures, including material deprivation,” Ms Ardern said. 

Education Minister , Jan Tinetti visited Victory Primary School in Nelson to mark two years since the expansion of the lunches programme.

“Ngāti Rārua in Nelson is a shining example of what can be achieved when iwi and hapū become partners/suppliers in the school lunches programme Ka Ora, Ka Ako | Healthy School Lunches programme,” the Minister said.

“Iwi and hapū across the motu have reported how the partnership has boosted confidence itself and its business potential.”

In June this year there were 229 approved lunch suppliers – with 152 currently delivering through the programme.

“And 10 iwi/hapū providers we have partnered with are delivering to 14 schools and kura. At the beginning of 2022, 2,361 jobs had been created or retained as a result of the programme,” said Minister Tinetti.

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