Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira.
Mrs Turei, who leads the Green Party's work on child poverty, will pick up Mr Harawira's Bill to provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. The Bill is part way through its first reading.
"I urge parties to put politics aside, to ensure hungry kids are fed and able to learn in school, and vote for the Education (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Amendment Bill." Mrs Turei said.
"On Radio New Zealand this morning, Prime Minister John Key claimed the 'vast bulk' of children got breakfast but admitted that about 15 percent did not. This Bill will ensure those kids, who are currently going without, are fed.
"Let's feed those tens of thousands of children. Those children need this help. It's time to put aside political ideology and consider this common sense solution. Parties should support the bill to select committee so we can have the debate and figure out the best solution.
"Hungry kids are more important than scoring political points.
"The Sanitarium and Fonterra Kickstart programme provides breakfast to some schools but thousands of children are still missing out.
"The Government shouldn't be relying on charity and good will. Schools should be able to depend on consistent funding and not be running around collecting donations and roping in volunteers in order to feed hungry children.
"New Zealanders want child poverty addressed. There is huge popular support for this measure, it's targeted, it's not that expensive, sector organisations support it - it's an idea whose time has come.
"I am proud to inherit this bill from Hone Harawira and am grateful he backed my request to take it on. I intend to build on his work and I sincerely thank him for his work on this bill and his ongoing efforts to help our children."