Government now serving up 1 million free lunches in schools a week

Prime Minister Child Poverty Reduction Education
  • Savings for a family with two children at school of up to $62 a week, over $2000 a year
  • Lunches now reaching 220,000 kids at 950 schools every school day
  • A million lunches delivered a week, over 63 million in total to date
  • 2,361 jobs created or retained

The Government’s healthy lunches in school programme | Ka Ora, Ka Ako has ramped up to deliver a million free lunches to school kids every week.

The programme has hit a two-year milestone, delivering 63 million free lunches to date, and now reaching over 220,000 kids at 950 schools.

“We know a full stomach makes a big difference to a child’s learning,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Evaluation of the healthy lunches programme shows what a positive impact the lunches are having on learners. Reducing hunger, improving mental and physical well-being have all been positive impacts of healthy lunches.

“This is a Government initiative that has proven to be especially important as we deal with global cost of living pressures,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“It’s not a silver bullet to the tough times we are facing, but in tandem with our income increases, fuel excise cuts, half price public transport, and cost of living payment it can and does make a difference.

“Free lunches has supported the Government’s efforts to tackle child poverty, roughly 66,500 children have been lifted from poverty and there have been reductions in all nine measures, including material deprivation.” Jacinda Ardern said. 

“All the facts show; healthy lunches in schools are making a meaningful difference to the lives of these kids and their whānau,” Jan Tinetti said.

Minister Tinetti visited Victory Primary School in Nelson to mark two years since the expansion of the lunches programme.

Ngāti Rārua in Nelson is a shining example of what can be achieved when iwi and hapū become partners/suppliers in the school lunches programme Ka Ora, Ka Ako | Healthy School Lunches programme. Iwi and hapū across the motu have reported how the partnership has boosted confidence itself and its business potential. 

In June this year there were 229 approved lunch suppliers. 152 are currently delivering through the programme, and 10 iwi/hapū providers we have partnered with are delivering to 14 schools and kura. At the beginning of 2022, 2,361 jobs had been created or retained as a result of the programme.