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Kerre Woodham: Where does the criticism end?

Author
Kerre Woodham,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 May 2024, 11:11am
Photo / File
Photo / File

Kerre Woodham: Where does the criticism end?

Author
Kerre Woodham,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 May 2024, 11:11am

You have to wonder whether the strident critics of the coalition government ever stop and look at the facts. Maybe read the press releases. Listen to the interviews. Do they just see something coming from the office of the Honourable Shane Reti or the Honourable David Seymour and bin it? Hear Christopher Luxon on the wireless and just switch off and go “Oh! Can’t come bear it! Let me replay some of the 1o’clock briefings during COVID and restore my equilibrium.” 

You know, do they ever stop and think that what they're saying is absurd. Like, this government is racist, and anti-Māori, and wants to exterminate Māori. There's been some hysterical rhetoric coming from some quarters, dangerous and hysterical rhetoric. Two of the party leaders that make up the coalition government can whakapapa back to their Māori ancestry. There are more Māori in Parliament than in any other time in Parliament's history, 155 years after New Zealand's first Māori MP's were elected. And so we've been, you know, mostly have been part of democracy for a very, since we all sort of came together. We now have more Māori representation than ever before. There are 33 Māori MPs across all of the parties in Parliament. Nine in Labour, Te Pati Māori, obviously six. Green, six, National, five! Shock me. New Zealand First, four, ACT, three.  

So, when you say we have a racist, extremist government, do you mean they're just not the right sort of Māori for you? They don't think like you do. They don't do the things you want them to do, in your way. Or say the things you want them to say. Well, you know, this is diverse community. Even if you're Māori you’re allowed to have a different point of view from another Māori. News alert! Same with women. Same with men. You know, so when you say that this government is racist and anti-Māori, we'll tell that to the 33 Māori who are in Parliament.  

Is it really the same with school lunches? We had David Seymour on yesterday around 11:30. So we didn't have much time and we won't take much time, it'll just cover it off a little this morning. But people are so anti the coalition government that even when they keep the school lunches, and even when they keep the school lunches and then extend it to pre-schoolers, so not only have they not scrapped it, they've extended it, the critics are vocal and fevered. Some are even anxious.  

This is Haeata Community Campus Principal Peggy Burrows on Heather Du-Plessis Allen last night.  

PB: If the government is going to be buying food and the argument is that they have the, you know, the buying power to save money, what does that look like? Does that mean that we're going to get huge cartoons of pre-packaged food and generic food and things like that? And that's not what we have been used to. 

HDPA: Yeah, but what's wrong with that, Peggy? 

PB: Well, if you have a. Child. That's celiac. Then you have to have a diet that is accommodating a better you have a vegetarian child. If you have a child that has, you know, those sorts of things have to be taken into consideration, I think. 

I'm sure they will be Pegs. You know. For heaven's sake, when she talks about saving money she spits out the words like they’re anathema to her. Heaven forfend that we keep a close eye on the taxpayer dollar. It's not the government paying for it, it’s you, me and her. And you know, news alert, food is pre-packaged. If you go and buy a sandwich from the dairy, it's in a package, it's been made hours earlier. It's pre-packaged. And I'm absolutely certain David Seymour's not going to be serving up lamb chops for all and you don't get up from the table till you've eaten it. You know, everybody understands these days that serving up food involves catering for special needs.  

And this is Boyd Swinburn, Auckland University's Boyd Swinburne on the Mike Hosking Breakfast. He has not much faith in the changes.  

MH: If you wanna get a sandwich and some fruit in a kid's stomach, that's no bad thing. That's what we're doing. And there are more kids getting it than were previously.

BS: Well, that's what he's claiming. But I don't see how I can do it when he so brings the money down. 

Claiming he said that about three times, that's what he's claiming. What David Seymour’s lying? About being able to produce sandwiches? And I don't know about you, but when it was first discussed about feeding hungry kids at school, I was all for it, but I didn't imagine it would be butter chicken, and vegetarian nachos, and lasagne, and all being delivered by numerous providers right around the country. I thought it would be a no-frills lunch that would feed hungry kids. The sort of lunch that your kids get, my kids get, our grandkids get. There were some providers who were doing a really great job and there were some providers who simply were not. Schools were ordering lunches for ghost kids. Food was going to waste. There was no evaluation on whether the lunches were doing their job or not, other than comments like I feel good when my tummy is full. Me too.  

I have no problem with providing a basic lunch for kids at school at all, but my hackles rise when I hear these people going ‘hmph. Government. Looking to save money. What about these beautiful, delicious, nutritious meals that we've been able to offer kids for hot cooked meals? Food from around the world? Just not right.’  

Well, you know what's not right? What is not right like are hungry kids, kids who cannot learn because they're starving, that is plain wrong. And if we can fix that, we should. Does that mean we have to offer an extensive, international range of hot and cold food that is designed to cater to every single individual taste we have? We have breakfast in schools that is no frills that has been working for years. Nobody has complained about that and we're now going to have to have an international smorgasbord buffet for these kids instead of the Sanitarium products, the milk, and the toast. That's been working just fine. Nobody's worried about shame about going along to The Breakfast Club. Nobody's been concerned about, what about the coeliacs? What about halal? What about the vegans? Nobody. They've just fed hungry kids. Going about their business.  

And on a day when David Seymour said not only am I not going to scrap it, despite the fact I think he really wanted to, not only am I not going to scrap it, I'm going to extend it. There's just been strident criticism. What the Dickens? What is this world coming to? 

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