A win for common sense

Hone Harawira’s “feed the kids” bill has been defeated in parliament.

The Mana Movement leader introduced it before last year’s election, campaigned on it, and then lost his seat.

It would have lapsed if Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei hadn’t picked it up.

The bill would have provided government-funded breakfasts and lunches in all decile one and two schools.

It gained strong support from opposition parties and child welfare advocates, but the government never accepted it.

“We would be providing meals that are provided by the vast bulk of parents and caregivers already,” Prime Minister John Key said when the bill first came to parliament.

“We should expect parents to feed their children properly and the vast majority of them do.”

He said the government already had food in schools programmes that provided meals for needy children.

National and its allies, ACT and United Future, voted against the bill.

Labour, the Greens, NZ First and the Maori Party supported it.

The only argument for this particular bill would be if the same children went hungry during the school holidays. ?Where are all the malnourished children from the December/January break?

Are they easy to identify on the first day back at school?

There is no doubt there are children that are missing out, but not in the vast numbers proposed by Hone Harawira?and his sponsor in the Green Party. ?The current food in schools programme already addresses this, and by offering food to all decile 1 and 2?students would signal that parents in those areas aren’t able to feed their children, when clearly, the majority do.

Also, it’s good to see the last trace of that?traitor Harawira?wiped from parliament. ?After the stunts he and Dotcom got up to for the sake of a few dollars, he should never set foot in our parliament again.