Duncan Garner: Why The AM Show is proudly launching a campaign to provide free lunches to all students in state schools

OPINION: On Monday The AM Show proudly launches its campaign to provide free lunches to all students in state schools. 


Firstly, because children and teenagers can only learn if they are fed well.

Secondly, so many schools and communities still miss out - which means while so much has already been done, thousands of kids still learn on empty stomachs, which is almost impossible.

So we have taken a stance and we say if we're going to feed some of them, feed them all.

Children still miss out on lunch at higher decile schools. Being decile 7, 8, 9, or 10 doesn't guarantee a decent lunch, it just means the area is deemed better off and funded at a different level. 

Now, coming to this position has been somewhat of a journey for me.

You see, I never supported food in schools five years ago - I always deemed it exclusively a parent's job to feed their children. 

Then I visited these amazing enterprises that provide the food and I visited some of the schools and met the teachers and kids.

And I have changed my mind. 

This is now something we must do. This is about doing all we can to give all children a fair start.

We make sure all elderly are treated the same at 65, with universal superannuation.

So why should kids start out at school with such a handicap? Get them all to the start line at least.

Eat My Lunch, KidsCan and the Government's pilot programme Ka Ora Ka Ako all provide food in schools right now. 

Some numbers for you: Eat My Lunch feeds 1800 kids in 77 schools. KidsCan provides food and other products to around 800 schools.

Ka Ora Ka Ako has seen lunches served in 542 schools, so about half of all New Zealand state schools are provided for through taxpayer and private support. 

But today we are saying; go the whole hog and clear the waiting lists of schools desperate to be included

Make it fair - feed them all. It makes teaching easier and the outcomes are obvious. 

What are we waiting for?

Duncan Garner hosts The AM Show.