Hone Harawira's bill that would provide breakfast and lunch to every decile one and two school began its first reading in Parliament earlier tonight.

The Mana leader said 80,000 children went to school hungry.

"I know this bill isn't the full answer — that families need more work and better wages to feed their kids every day all week long and that much more needs to be put in place to turn around rising child poverty levels in Aotearoa.

"All I want to do with this Bill is make sure our kids get fed while this is being done."


The bill would provide the meals and a "feed the kids" co-ordinator at an estimated annual cost of $100 million.

The bill is not expected to pass its first reading with National, Act and United Future opposing it.

The Government last year budgeted $9.5 million to expand a free breakfast programme in lower decile schools as part of a five-year programme which was part-funded by Fonterra and Sanitarium.

The companies already ran KickStart Breakfast which provided Weet-Bix and milk to children in around 500 low-decile schools two days a week.

Labour MP David Shearer has a bill in the private members' ballot, which would allows decile 1 to 3 primary and intermediate schools to become eligible for free breakfasts and lunches, based on indicators developed by Ministry of Health.