The Government's calling Labour's education policy "confused and out of date".
Labour leader David Shearer has announced the party would bring in compulsory Reading Recovery and free lunches in decile one to three schools.
Education Minister Hekia Parata says Labour's changing its stance on education policy.
"On the one hand Labour has campaigned against national standards, on the other they think they might keep them but make them optional which means they're not national I guess. They're against school reports and now they're for school reports."
Ms Parata says the Government already funds a number of reading a literacy programmes in schools.
The plans would cost Labour up to $19 million to introduce a free daily meal for children.
School Trustees Association president Lorraine Kerr says Labour has great ideas, but those ideas have to be backed up with adequate funding.
"They actually have to fund it regularly forever and a day, as opposed to OK we'll give you funding for three years, thereafter you're on your own."
She says it makes sense to have food in schools, given so many children already live in poverty.
"I know a lot of schools in New Zealand that already provide food in schools because their kids come to school having not eaten."
Ms Kerr says the need for more Reading Recovery in schools has been an issue for a long time.
John Key says there's one problem with Labour's proposals.
"If David Shearer was prepared to back national standards, then I think you could take him seriously on the reading recovery issues because national standards is the flag for assessing whether a child actually needs reading recovery."
But NZEI President Ian Leckie says the steps are a common sense approach to the problems teachers deal with every day.
He says it puts children at the centre of learning.
"Reading recovery is internationally renowned, is an extremely successful programme, has a very high rate of success, obviously food in schools has long been an issue and with so many children in poverty in New Zealand now, it's a practical solution."
Mr Leckie says anything which can help children learn is a good thing.
He says Labour's policy is a common sense approach, which will lead to genuine consultation about building an education system that considers the views of teachers and parents.
"Very much we would welcome talk of cooperation and collegiality and that is in fact what the education system needs and that's what's missing at the moment."
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