After an enthusiastic take-up, some schools have seen nearly a 90 per cent decline in the number of kids receiving milk each day, with many blaming the taste of the ultra heat treated (UHT) milk.
“The kids wrote letters to Fonterra thanking them for the milk, but fewer were drinking it because of the taste it left in their mouth,” said Dave Bradley, Wellsford School principal.
The school said half the 240 children initially drinking the milk have opted out.
At Kaiwaka nearly 70 of the school’s 86 children were drinking the milk. It is now down to 10.
“I am beginning to wonder if kids are so used to sugar that they don’t want to drink milk anymore,” said principal Barbara Bronlund.
At Waipu School 170 milk drinkers had become 20. Flavour was again a problem. . .
However, some schools are very happy with the free milk:
Several schools, although having seen numbers level off, consider the programme a massive success.
At Manaia View School at least 90 per cent of the children have milk every day.
“I’ve got lots of kids who ask for more as a reward,” said Ian Bird, the teacher in charge of milk.
At Kaitaia Primary School milk was reaching those most in need.
“We are decile 1C for a good reason.
“We have a number of families who struggle financially, and with the cost of fresh food and milk they just can’t afford it,” principal Brendon Morrissey said.
What this shows is that fussy kids aren’t hungry kids and hungry kids aren’t fussy kids.
The answer is to target the milk where it is most needed.
There is a lesson here for Labour which wants to give free food to all decile one to three schools.
It would be far better to target the food to those children in real need and not waste the food, and taxpayers or charities’ money on food for children who neither want nor need it.