Duncan Garner: Free lunches gives bad parents an out

OPINION: Brilliant from the Prime Minister.

Simple, clean, easy to understand - and who said there is no such thing as a free lunch. Ardern has made it her job to target child poverty and to reduce the so-called suffering of more than 100,000 young New Zealanders who don't get the basics in life - things like food, shoes, shelter. So what does she do? She offers free lunches in schools.

It's hard not to like, it's even harder to cut.

So National will grin and bear this and say, 'yes, lovely, we would have done the same given half the chance'. 

It's untouchable. It's just like interest-free student loans.

National can hardly go into the next election promising to take the lunches off the kids. But watch this space for something else.

I expect this to be the beginning of free lunches for all New Zealand school pupils - it's an easy extension.

Corporates come on-board, too, the Government may eat KidsCan for lunch, as they are swallowed up by the state rolling this thing out everywhere.

But, it does worry me, too. It allows for parents to say, 'not my job'.

It gives bad parents an excuse, an out, and what does it say about the Working for Families package that puts $2 billion a year into the pockets of those Kiwis struggling to make ends meet?

Well, if the problem of feeding kids has got so bad, then the money clearly isn't reaching the kids.

And we're now going this extra step. Another victory for welfare, but a big failure for our society and another reason why parents can wash their hands of responsibility. And that's not OK. So, alongside this policy, we need a parenting one, too.

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show.