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Tim Dower: Lazy parents are being bailed out with free school lunches

Tim Dower: Lazy parents are being bailed out with free school lunches

I will never voluntarily eat macaroni cheese, not ever.And the reason for that is we used to have it served up at school, not every day thank God, but often enough to make a lasting impression.The primary school had a kitchen, meals were prepared daily, in house, and if there was anything left when everyone else had been fed you could go back for seconds.Secondary school was the same, you bought a week's worth of tickets on a Monday and again, the food was prepared on the premises.School dinners were at least hot, if not tasty and filling, if not especially nutritious.And if you didn't like them because you were fussy, or you had allegories, Mum sent you in with sandwiches.Fast forward to today, and as we've heard, the Government is rolling out a free lunch program into schools, starting in Auckland and Wellington.We already have the charity KidsCan delivering thousands of meals every day, and picking up the slack for kids turning up without shoes, or a raincoat in winter.You know, it makes me quite cross that parents aren't doing this.That some parents, some parents would rather go to the bottle shop or buy smokes than put shoes on their kids' feet or food on the table.My instincts say these people need to be brought into line...they need to make the needs of their children their first priority...as most families do.So my instincts tell me this new scheme is actually wrong.When something is free, that's the value people put on it.And I suspect there's a generation of wasters out there and the more we dish stuff out to them for free, the more they'll expect and the less they will do for themselves.But my colleagues here have convinced me to take a much softer line.It's been proved that a child who gets a decent meal at school does better at school...and a child that does better at school does better in life.And ultimately, we shouldn't punish the kids for having shite parents.

Duration: 2 min

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