Education (Food in Schools) Amendment Bill

  • defeated on 18 March 2015

Education (Food in Schools) Amendment Bill

Member’s Bill

154—1

Explanatory note

General policy statement

New Zealand is a more unequal society now than it has ever been and rising child poverty is a sad reality. We now have 270 000 children in poverty and 40% of them come from the homes of working families.

Unfortunately, that means that when it comes to education all kids do not start at the same place. Ministry of Health estimates suggest that as many as 80 000 students turn up to school each week without having had breakfast. Charities are already providing over 40 000 schoolchildren with food each week, but it is clear the need is much greater than this.

There is substantive evidence from New Zealand and around the world that hunger has a significant impact on children’s cognitive development, learning, and classroom behaviour. A 2005 study by New Zealand researchers Quigley and Watts Ltd concluded that a significant number of New Zealand children’s diets were so poor that their brain functioning was affected.

If kids turn up to school not having eaten breakfast, without shoes, or sick because their house is cold and damp, it is obvious they will not get the best start. Addressing this problem is one of the most important actions we can take to lift New Zealand’s educational achievement.

To address this issue the Government needs to be more hands-on, partnering with communities and voluntary organisations to put free food in all primary and intermediate schools that want and need it.

This Bill is intended to be permissive rather than prescriptive. It provides for schools to be eligible for assistance from designated food in school providers on the basis of indicators of need that the Ministry will be responsible for specifying.

The intent of the Bill is to provide for a legislative basis for making food in schools available to all decile 1 to 3 primary and intermediate schools, but the Bill leaves it open for the eligibility to be subsequently widened as funding permits.

Clause by clause analysis

Clause 1 is the Title clause.

Clause 2 is the commencement clause. The Bill comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

Clause 3 provides that the Bill amends the Education Act 1989 the (principal Act).

Clause 4 states the purpose of the Bill.

Clause 5 inserts new Part 3A, which sets out the partnership between the Crown and designated organisations for the provision of food in schools to students who need it.

David Shearer

Education (Food in Schools) Amendment Bill

Member’s Bill

154—1

The Parliament of New Zealand enacts as follows:

1 Title

This Act is the Education (Food in Schools) Amendment Act 2012.

2 Commencement

This Act comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

3 Principal Act

This Act amends the Education Act 1989 (the principal Act).

4 Purpose

The purpose of this Act is to ensure that the Crown supports organisations to deliver food to students in schools where a need for food can be identified.

5 New Part 3A inserted

After section 35R, insert:

Part 3A Food in schools

35S Food in school providers

(1)

The Secretary must, by notice in the Gazette,—

(a)

designate 1 or more organisations as a food in school provider for the purpose of providing food to students in schools; and

(b)

set out the basis on which schools are eligible for receiving assistance from food in school providers—

(i)

using such indicators of need as the Ministry specifies from time to time; and

(ii)

giving priority to primary schools.

(2)

A designated food in school provider must provide food to students in schools if—

(a)

the board of the school has indicated that it wishes to receive such assistance; and

(b)

the school has been defined as eligible for assistance by a notice under subsection (1)(a); and

(c)

the school is a State school; and

(d)

the school is a primary school.

35T Funding of food in school providers

(1)

In each year, out of money appropriated by Parliament, the designated food in school provider or providers,—

(a)

must be paid general grants; and

(b)

may be paid 1 or more discretionary grants.

(2)

The amount of every grant must be determined by the Minister.

(3)

Any grant—

(a)

may be paid unconditionally, or subject to any conditions the Minister specifies in writing when the grant is paid or earlier; and

(b)

may be paid to be used for any purpose the service provider considers appropriate, or for only such purposes as the Minister specifies in writing when the grant is paid or earlier.

(4)

The service provider must ensure that,—

(a)

if a grant has been paid subject to conditions, the conditions are complied with; and

(b)

if a grant has been paid to be used only for purposes specified by the Minister under subsection (3)(b), the grant is used only for those purposes.

(5)

During the financial year in which a grant was paid to a food in school provider under this section and during the subsequent financial year,—

(a)

the Secretary may, by written notice to the food in school provider, require it to give to the Secretary in writing any financial report, or statistical or other information, relating to the food in school provider specified in the notice, within a time specified in the notice; and

(b)

the food in school provider must take all reasonable steps to comply with the notice.

35U Evaluation

(1)

The Secretary must, no later than 3 years after the commencement of this Part, review, or arrange for the review of, its operation, and—

(a)

consider the impacts of grants for food in schools on student attendance, health, and learning achievement; and

(b)

assess whether any changes are needed, including any amendments to this Act, to improve the effectiveness of food in school programmes; and

(c)

report the findings to the Minister.

(2)

The Minister must present a copy of the report to the House of Representatives as soon as practicable after receiving it.