Free and healthy lunches in schools

All our children deserve to learn and thrive. And they do that best with food in their tummies.

And while there are many things that make New Zealand a great place for children and their families, too many are facing significant, ongoing, hardships and challenges in their lives.

That’s why, when launching the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, Prime Minister and Minister for Child Poverty Reduction Jacinda Ardern announced that 30 schools in the Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay will be invited to participate in a programme to trial free school lunches for all Year 1-8 students.

The two year programme will start in Term 1 next year and will progressively roll out to 21,000 students in 120 schools across the country.

Schools invited into the programme will be a mix of kura and schools in rural, urban and remote locations with high levels of disadvantage. All have high levels of disadvantage, according to the Ministry’s Equity index.

With an emphasis on developing a community approach, it’s expected that schools will work with whanau, parents and providers to shape the design and delivery of their free school lunches.

Testing and evaluating what works best for different schools will be an important part of the $45m programme.  A decision will be made whether to continue or extend the programme after its two year trial has ended. 

You can read more about the free and healthy lunch programme here and about the Child Youth and Wellbeing Strategy

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Tell us what you think.