Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Stand Up & Fight (Feed the Kids) - Jevan

On 8 November, 2012, MANA leader Hone Harawira's Feed the Kids Bill was drawn in Aotearoa/New Zealand's Parliament. It asks the government to feed 100,000 hungry kids in decile one and two schools. In June Parliament will decide whether to support the Bill or not.

Together we can make it happen. Visit and download the track from www.feedthekids.org.nz to find out how you can help.

I want to say this.

It absolutely horrifies me that children in this country go to school without having eaten breakfast, often without any lunch. Our children shouldn't be hungry. There is no need for it. And it is really easy for people to jump up and down and blame the parents - that's what a lot of people do. Without thought for the bigger picture. Okay I know there are parents out there who, for whatever reason, don't take proper responsibility for their kids but I will argue that these people are a really small percentage in our country as they always have been.

What is different from times past, is the ever-widening gap between the very rich (like John Key for example, in his mansion up in Auckland) and the low-waged people and those that have no jobs at all. And those people in Canterbury, by the way, who are paying huge rents for broken houses that are costing a fortune to heat. Not leaving a lot in the budget for food. Imagine the juggling act. Do we pay the rent? Or do we heat the house? Or do we feed the kids? How do we manage all this? Do we go to the local Food Bank for help and after a few times they might say, you should be budgeting better? With what, the parents might say?

There's been plenty of times in my past when I have stayed in the house on a winter's day without heat, only turning the heater on half an hour before the kids were due home from school. It's no fun, believe me.

How long do people think a box of cereal might last, if you have 4 or five hungry kids? You hear people say these things, cereal's cheap. Or a loaf of bread. No it's not. And it's a crime when milk is dearer than coca cola (which has no nutritional value whatsoever) in our country which is overloaded with dairy farms for crying out loud. People overseas pay less for milk produced in Aotearoa/New Zealand than us Kiwis do.

The MANA Party say "feeding the kids should be our first priority as a nation". And they are right.


  1. Kids were sent to me when they were misbehaving and the first thing I did was feed them. And often they settled down. They say we have an epidemic of "attention deficit disorder"; we have an epidemic, in our rich nation, of hungry children.

    We expect children to eat as adults do, 3 meals a day. Actually it is better if they have access to 5-6 chances to eat smaller amounts. If it is good quality food, whole grain and fruits they will not get "fat".

    Who would not feed a child? It is a sin.

    1. "Kids were sent to me when they were misbehaving and the first thing I did was feed them". How completely sensible too. I absolutely salute you. I think schools and teachers have been doing that here as well, but cuts in funding, wages, and general misery do make it harder and harder. Last year Campbell Live (current affairs programme here) did sterling work highlighting the issue and getting behind a voluntary organisation that has been working hard to supply schools with food to feed the hungry kids and strongly publicising the issue. And now we have Hone's bill. Kia kaha to Hone for this. My only critique would be that while the largest group of hungry children can be found in decile 1 & 2 schools (the decile correlates to the average income of the parents of the children at the school, 1 being the most poverty-stricken) there are plenty of hungry children in higher decile schools and/or parents struggling. I myself, never let my children anywhere near a low decile school, their schools were decile 8 or 9 but man I often struggled to feed them well.

    2. ... Having said that, I had such a laugh one day when my wee five year olds came home and informed me that the teacher said they had the healthiest lunches of all in their lunch boxes (this at a decile 9 school). I was amazed, was the teacher examining the kids' lunchboxes? No, she laughed, really she was making sure all the wee kids knew how to unpack their lunches etc. Sometimes parents wrapped the lunches in gladwrap and the kids didn't know how to open the wrap to get at the food. That said, she reiterated that my boys had the healthiest lunches, good healthy sandwiches on brown bread, yoghurt, fruit and 1 or 2 plain biscuits. Not oodles of rubbishy crisps or the like, like so many of the other kids, some of whom already had weight issues.

  2. Hi Iri my reply was too long and went beyond the word limit so I will try posting it in separate bits.

    The gobalisation of poverty is of course the central plank of policies pusued by transnational capitalism and the policians who are in place to do the bidding of the corporations. People like John Key are the obscene functionaries of this so-called "new world order", the 1% that is the global parasite class that must be expunged if we are to survive and prosper in the future.

    There is exactly the same situation here, hungry children and adults, food banks, tax evading corporations and corrupt politicians, police and secret services who collude to impoverish the 99% and literarally steal childrens lunch money to stash away in their offshore tax havens or the neo-fascist dictatorships they prop up worldwide.

    Estimates are that the total world’s wealth is close to $200 trillion, with the US and Europe holding approximately 63 percent. To be among the wealthiest half of the world, an adult needs only $4,000 in assets once debts have been subtracted. An adult requires more than $72,000 to belong to the top 10 percent of global wealth holders, and more than $588,000 to be a member of the top 1 percent.

    As of 2010, the top 1 percent of the wealthist people in the world had hidden away between $21 trillion to $32 trillion in secret tax exempt bank accounts spread all over the world. Meanwhile, the poorest half of the global population together possesses less than 2 percent of global wealth.
    Global grain production yielded a record 2.3 billion tons in 2007, up 4 percent from the year before—yet, billions of people go hungry every day. Grain.org describes the core reasons for ongoing hunger in a recent article, “Corporations Are Still Making a Killing from Hunger”: while farmers grow enough food to feed the world, commodity speculators and huge grain traders like Cargill control global food prices and distribution.


    1. Part 2

      Until people get angry enough to do something about this problem the children of Aotearoa/New Zealand, the US, the UK and many many other places around the world will go hungry. In Africa they will die, starvation.net reports that 35,000 people, mostly young children, die every day from starvation in the world, the largest proportion in Africa.
      The reason for this ongoing holocaust is of course the same as why Kiwi children go hungry and their parents cannot feed them or keep them warm and it is the same here and everywhere across the globe.
      Local legislation like the Feed The Kids Bill can act as a palliative but unfortunately the problem is much wider and deeper than that and needs a global response to be eliminated once and for all.

      This I think can only be achieved by knowing who the enemy is and taking resolute action to neutralise them by a global revolutionary movement.

      The transnational capitalist class can be analytically divided into four main fractions: (i) owners and controllers of transnational corporations and their local affiliates; (ii) globalizing bureaucrats and politicians; (iii) globalizing professionals; (iv) consumerist elites (merchants and media).

      Each wing of the international capitalist class must be taken on in every jusisdiction and damage must be inflicted upon each subdivision of the 1% and their agents everywhere. There is no single way of doing this and nothing can be ruled out, the means of resistance is determined by local factors, but the transition movement is the key I think to sustainable futures for the 99%. Local food networks and free food projects like Incredible Edible in the England and other similar initiatives in other countries is I think the eco-economic response, but the overthrow of transnational captialism and the global impoverishment it thrives upon must employ flexible and varied means to achive the goal. Know your enemy is the timeless slogan of global insurgency.

      Then and only then will people eat good food rather than the chemically contaminated junk food the corporations distribute to those with enough money to poison themselves with GMOs. John Key/Coca Cola - are peas in a pod and just a couple of manifestations of the enemies of all civilisation we must eliminate in a global crusade for decency and fairness...the new 99% world order!

    2. My apologies, because I only just discovered your awesome and erudite comments here. Do you know, I cannot disagree with any of your thoughts, either. Anarchy is so often positioned as a thing to be feared but anarchy which overthrows capitalist greed can only be good for ordinary folk and their whanau.

      Hone's bill was looking to provide free school lunches here for kids in the poorest areas, something I think the UK has already and we have never had here.

  3. As always Ari, an excellent blog.

    I am darned if I know how families can feed their children now: The 'real' wage ( versus the govt. announced average wage) means that to house, feed and clothe a family has moved into the miracle story. I used to think I could budget quite well, but I would not be able to now.

    Some basic difficulty comes from underlying expectations which is fanned by the media in every way possible and yet how the products don't come up to standard.

    Everything with an ever decreasing built-in short expiry date. A stove, a car, a frig - maybe a household would buy two in a lifetime. Clothing? yes maybe cheap in comparison to what I used to pay, but as the cliché goes, the fabric so thin you could spit peas through them. My thumb and forefinger test even the more expensive clothing and I'm dismayed how inferior the quality is. These acrylic this, acrylic that have no warmth in them - polar fleece? Hrumph! My children used to have 2 sets of school clothes, 2 sets of play clothes, 1 set of good clothes. And more often than not these clothes, because they were of a quality, were hand-me-downs. Now if any clothing possibly lasts a year they would have become so out-of-fashion in that time the recipient would be an outcast to wear it.

    In the suburbs of outer Auckland the average weekly rent for a 2 bedroom house on a bus route is the same as a pensioner's weekly payment. Then allow that the travel costs are going to be high. But closer in to the city they are more like $450 minimum a week and that is before water in (and out), power, phone, rubbish collection.

    I have taught the daughters to make both bread and vegetable soup, but they don't sew, knit, or bottle fruit/make jam - they think it is cheaper to buy the poor quality. Sigh

    1. Lois! Kia ora. Lovely to see you after all this time.

      I agree, rents are ridiculous. And down here, we are so short of houses now, the rents and/or purchase prices keep going up and up, fanning the price increases. Now the government has decided to increase taxes on petrol which will increase food prices yet again of course.

      My children used to wear good quality second hand clothing a lot of the time - at least when they were younger that worked quite well - a lot harder when they were older though. Thing is, as the basic bills get higher and higher (rent, power etc) its the food bill that gets cut back and back and back.

      Just yesterday I heard about a woman who, after the bills were paid, was left with $8pw to spend on food. And she was not being profligate.

    2. Thanks for the welcome.

      Certainly realised how much I had got to rely on needing a computer in my life. But surprised how many multiply people had disappeared over the past six months. Some started off with blogger/blogspot ( which I found near impossible to access with the old computer) or off to Blogster ( like I did) which they have discontinued on since. I guess they have either stopped blogging or gone to new sites. Glad that I can still stop by and say hello to you and hear how your world is going.

    3. Nice to see you too. This is my only blogsite at this point - I'm one of the people who have discontinued from Blogster too, and from another site Ipernity. Seem to have kept some contact with some key people (like you) but lost heaps of them now. They have all scattered to the four winds I think.

      Are you finding this site easier to access now you have a new computer? Will we see more of you here? I hope so.

  4. Every thing you say is true..............and its happening every where is the western world. It’s a crime that in nations that are so rich and have so much food, people are still undernourished. Every thing, even food is now about profit and until that changes, nothing will change.

  5. oh forgot to say...................I was looking for the 'follow by email' gadget to click and can't see it on your page. Am I missing it or is it not here??.its just that I find it so much easier to follow if I get email notifications..