The Green Party is welcoming the release of the Ministry of Health's food and beverage classification system.
"Improving school food is something we negotiated with the Government after the 2005 election and we've been working since then to get changes in place. In last year's budget the Greens successfully negotiated $12 million for the Nutrition Fund," Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says
"The new classification system encompasses sensible guidelines which will assist schools to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy foods, and ensure that school children are offered healthy food options," Ms Kedgley says.
"I am certain that schools, as well as school children, will benefit from implementing these guidelines. All the evidence shows that when children eat healthy foods they are better able to concentrate in class, and are therefore able to learn better."
"Many teachers report that children are better behaved when they haven't filled up with sugary food and drinks during morning tea and lunch breaks. The guidelines will help improve the environment in our schools, as well as the health and well-being of our children.
"I am therefore mystified as to why some principals are campaigning against them. Surely their priorities include the health and well-being of our children, and improving the school learning environment?
"The guidelines are, for the most part, sensible and practical. However, I cannot understand how diet fizzy drinks are in the 'sometimes' rather than the 'occasional' food category. They have no nutrients in them, most contain caffeine, a mildly addictive substance, and are highly acidic and therefore harmful to children's teeth. Many also contain aspartame, a controversial additive linked to a wide range of adverse reactions.
"Why would we want to encourage our kids to drink this stuff, rather than water and milk?