Sup­port for school milk

Many Mata­mata peo­ple are strug­gling to pay the bills in the face of ris­ing food prices and are cut­ting back on ev­ery­day sta­ples such as milk. Win­tec jour­nal­ism stu­dent Ja­son How­ells asked a num­ber of Mata­mata teach­ers and res­i­dents how im­por­tant they felt

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

OVER the past year the av­er­age cost of liv­ing has in­creased 7.8 per cent with milk in­creas­ing in price by 50 per cent over the past five years. Mata­mata Col­lege prin­ci­pal Glen Roswell said many of his stu­dents were com­ing to school with­out an ad­e­quate breakfast which af­fected their be­hav­iour.

‘‘I would like to see fund­ing for a breakfast club so that stu­dents could start the day prop­erly,’’ he said.

The Min­istry of Health rec­om­mends two serv­ings of milk per day and chil­dren may not be re­ceiv­ing the nine es­sen­tial nu­tri­ents in milk in­clud­ing cal­cium, pro­tein, and vi­ta­min D, which are good for bone growth and con­cen­tra­tion lev­els.

A Con­sumer New Zealand sur­vey showed 87 per cent of New Zealan­ders had no­ticed an in­crease in the price of milk, with 91 per cent be­liev­ing the price was high.

Re­tired Mata­mata dairy farmer Ge­orgie Red­shaw agreed that the price of milk was high.

‘‘There is still a mar­ket for it but not every­one can af­ford it,’’ she said.

Firth Pri­mary School prin­ci­pal James Eldridge has al­ready in­stalled a pro­gramme for his school called Kick Start Breakfast, which is a na­tion­wide char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tion where Fon­terra sup­ply a crate of milk per week with San­i­tar­ium sup­ply­ing Weet­bix for the decile three school.

Mr Eldridge said some morn­ings up to 20 chil­dren came for a free breakfast.

‘‘I do ap­plaud the idea of milk for all stu­dents though, as it is fan­tas­tic brain food,’’ he said.

New Zealand once had a sim­i­lar scheme which be­gan in the 1930s dur­ing a time of eco­nomic de­pres­sion.

It pro­vided half a pint of milk to ev­ery child to help im­prove bone and teeth de­vel­op­ment.

‘‘I re­mem­ber hav­ing school milk back in the day and to be hon­est it was ever so nice to have that fa­cil­ity,’’ said Mata­mata Col­lege staff mem­ber, par­ent and grand­par­ent Rangi Dou­glas.

‘‘I don’t re­mem­ber chil­dren be­ing lac­tose in­tol­er­ant back then.’’

Weight loss coach and mother of three Sarah Bai­ley said: ‘‘If school milk was rein­tro­duced, the Gov­ern­ment should take into ac­count that many New Zealan­ders have milk al­ler­gies, so they should also in­tro­duce soy milk and hy­per-al­ler­gic for­mu­las for those chil­dren.’’

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