Free Milk: Amazing Christmas Gift For New Zealand Children

Press Release – Manaia Health

The man who expressed outrage at the cost of milk and kicked off the campaign that saw Fonterra freeze milk prizes is applauding their bold offer to supply free milk to primary school children.Manaia Health PHO

PRESS RELEASE

16th December 2011

Free Milk: Amazing Christmas Gift For New Zealand Children

The man who expressed outrage at the cost of milk and kicked off the campaign that saw Fonterra freeze milk prizes is applauding their bold offer to supply free milk to primary school children.

“This would have to be one of the most significant acts a corporate body has done for the wellbeing of New Zealand children. What a great Christmas gift to our children,” says Manaia Health PHO Chief Executive Chris Farrelly.

In February this year the price of milk hit headlines when Mr Farrelly slammed the high cost of milk calling it a national outrage. Since then Fonterra put a price freeze on milk, and an inquiry was launched.

“When we started this campaign our focus was on how vital milk was for children’s health and development. Milk provides essential energy, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. Providing free milk to children in school will ensure that it becomes a fundamental part of all our children’s diets and no longer a luxury for some,” says Mr Farrelly.

“We are delighted that Fonterra has decided that the Milk for Schools programme will start in 110 Northland primary schools. It will make a huge difference for many of our children. Recent research by the Whangarei Child Poverty Action Group into food poverty revealed that all low decile schools in Whangarei provide food to children, with about 450 children given breakfast at school each week. Work and Income gave out 1200 special needs grants for food in the month of September alone and there are at least 19 food providers feeding needy families in Whangarei.

“Providing free milk to children will help families enormously but as always we need to think: what else can we do? What other bold acts of generosity can other Corporates and the Government deliver to our children in the new year? Now is a critical time for our country to respond and act for the wellbeing of children. Ensuring all children in decile one and two schools receive a healthy breakfast would complement the Fonterra Milk for Schools programme,” he says.

“We acknowledge the work done by the Government on insulating older homes so they are warm and dry and we hope this work continues and is enhanced. The pre-election announcement that all children aged 0-6 will be able to access free primary health care 24 hours a day is also a great start – but more can be done.

“Families need free primary health care for all children aged 0-18 and an increase in the minimum family income. We all have a part to play: government, business and the community. If we work together we can turn around some of our shameful statistics to make New Zealand a really great place for all our children, a real place of ‘world champions’.”

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