Advice from the Ministry of Education shows that kids who bring their own lunches from home are being discouraged from eating them,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“After it was revealed this week that thousands of lunches are going to waste, the Ministry now wants to stop children from eating their own lunches.

“Advice on the Ministry of Education website says teachers are to “create a time (10-15 minutes), that is solely for eating the provided lunch, while food from home stays in students’ bags.”

“This kind of treatment punishes students and parents who have taken personal responsibly for providing their own lunch. It’s just mean to leave kids sitting there at lunch time waiting to eat their own food.

“Not all students need lunches provided by the state. Why should kids whose parents can afford to provide lunch and have gone to the trouble of making it have to sit and wait while other kids eat in front of them? 

“The advice also says “Choose a time for lunch that will give your staff and ākonga the most opportunity to benefit – healthy food tastes better if you are hungry.”

“Are teachers meant to get kids to the point where they’re starving so they’ll want to eat the food provided? 

“The advice says “Encourage ākonga to try new foods and praise students for their efforts – remember it can take between five and 15 exposures to learn to like a food.”

“Children aren’t stupid. They either like something or they don’t. If these lunches are so terrible that kids have to try them 15 times, there’s probably a problem with what’s in them.

“ACT believes when creating good public policy you should do detailed work about what the problem is you’re actually trying to solve, not just throw around taxpayer’s money so people think you’re kind.

“Some real work needs to be done here to find out how many lunches are going to waste and why.”