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CPAG acknowledges Countdown's contribution to children

Child Poverty Action Group wishes to acknowledge the outstanding contribution made by the Countdown supermarket chain through its material support for Red Cross's food in school programme.  

Child Poverty Action Group wishes to acknowledge the outstanding contribution made by the Countdown supermarket chain through its material support for Red Cross's food in school programme.  "While Countdown has recently decided to withdraw from this programme it is unfair to criticise the company for deciding to shift its focus elsewhere" says CPAG Co-director Alan Johnson. "The company's decision to make this change is entirely its own business and while we are disappointed that school food programmes are losing this support these programmes would have been much poorer if it weren't for Countdown's contribution over the number of years" Mr Johnson said.

"Child Poverty Action Groups sees real educational and health benefits from rolling out a taxpayer supported food programme in low decile schools" Mr Johnson says.  Ideally such programmes should be freely available to all New Zealand children attending decile 1 and 2 schools as a means of ensuring that all of these children have access to basic nutritional breakfasts regardless of their home backgrounds and the capability of their parents" he says. 

Ideally too, these food programmes should be run through a four way partnership between the Government, school boards of trustees, local community agencies and volunteers and local businesses" Mr Johnson says.  "Such partnerships are likely to be bring people together around a shared desire to see that all our children do well at school and in life,", Mr Johnson adds "and they may work better at addressing some of the underlying problems behind the need for such food programmes".