Smarter Lunch Programme Feeds More, Costs Less

Published: Wed 8 May 2024 01:21 PM
Associate Education Minister David Seymour has today announced that the Government will be delivering a more efficient Healthy School Lunches Programme, saving taxpayers approximately $107 million a year compared to how Labour funded it, by embracing innovation and commercial expertise.
“We are delivering on our commitment to treat taxpayers’ money with respect,” says Mr Seymour.
“All students currently receiving a lunch through the programme will continue to receive a lunch at school for significantly less cost to taxpayers.
“The Healthy School Lunches Programme will continue, alongside a new targeted programme for up to 10,000 two-to-five-year-olds in early learning services.
“I am pleased to announce there will be a new targeted programme to provide food to 10,000 two-to-five-year-olds who attend low-equity, not-for-profit, community-based early learning services, funded using the cost savings found in the lunch programme.
“The first 1,000 days are key to a child’s development. I am proud this government can innovate to help even more children who need it.”
Budget 2024 provides $478 million of funding for the school lunches programme. Funding an interim model which will be put in place for 2025 and 2026 while a full redesign of the programme is implemented, based on commercial experience, data, and evidence.
“In the meantime, there will be no change to the school lunch programme for primary learners in years 0 to 6 that currently receive a taxpayer-funded lunch. An alternative provision model will be established for years 7 and up,” says Mr Seymour.
“The alternate provision model will use the government’s significant buying power to save money on food, give schools more flexibility on what they provide, and significantly reduce wastage. It also means parents and students can choose to make their own lunch.
“Because of the fiscal cliff left by the previous government, we have had to fund an interim solution for 2025 and 2026 in an environment of extreme fiscal restraint to ensure we do not leave children and their families in the lurch.
“Through innovation and embracing commercial expertise, we’re delivering a better programme, saving taxpayers approximately $107 million per annum compared to how Labour funded it.
“The previous government conditioned people to believe that the only way to show your love as a government is to spend more money and employ more people. We think getting improved outcomes for all New Zealanders is better and those things are not always connected.
“Students will receive nutritious food that they want to eat. It will be made up of the sorts of food items thousands of mums and dads put into lunch boxes every day for their kids – forget quinoa, couscous, and hummus, it will be more like sandwiches and fruit.
“This improved school lunches programme is an example of how this government is committed to providing New Zealanders with better public services while spending less of their money.”
Students at schools receiving taxpayer-funded lunches will also continue to be supported by the Kickstart Breakfast and Fruit in Schools programmes.
For the remainder of 2024, the school lunches programme will remain as is with all current contracts and commitments in place.
Q sheet providing further details on the programme
A snapshot of all operating school food programmes
A diagram of changes

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