Health Coalition Aotearoa is urging the government to expand the Ka Ora Ka Ako free lunch programme due to the rising level of national food insecurity.
The scheme is currently restricted to 25 percent of students with the highest socio-economic need and misses a large proportion of children outside of this threshold. Health Coalition Aotearoa would like to see the number of students enrolled double to 500,000.
Coalition co-chairman Boyd Swinburn said that the country is still in the middle of a child obesity epidemic, and the programme is tackling this alongside a number of other mental and oral health issues indirectly.
The Secondary Principals’ Association has also noted the difference the programme has made on the ground, and its expansion would greatly benefit more students.