We'll drink to that

Schools welcome national milk programme

TERRI RUSSELL
Last updated 05:00 14/12/2012
Milk for Schools
TERRI RUSSELL/Fairfax NZ

DRINK UP: Mataura School pupils Iley Reid, 8, and Cameron Coat, 5, enjoy a bottle of milk after Fonterra announced yesterday it is bringing its Milk for Schools programme to Southland next term.

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Southland primary school pupils will be able to enjoy a glass of milk each day after Fonterra announced it will be rolling out its Milk for Schools programme nationally next year.

The programme will be launched in Southland in the first term of next year and would be on an opt-in basis.

Fonterra's decision to offer milk to all New Zealand primary schools, 2000 in total, comes after the success of a Northland pilot this year.

Each child would get a 180ml serve of low-fat milk each day and Fonterra would also provide fridges and a recycling programme.

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings said the company was committed to improving the health of children by giving all primary school children the chance to enjoy the nutritious product.

"New Zealand is the largest exporter of dairy products in the world, but at home, we're not drinking as much as we used to.

"We want to be the dairy nutrition capital of the world and this starts with our kids," he said.

The cost of the programme depended on the number of schools participating and this would not be known until the end of next year, Mr Spierings said.

Mataura School principal Susan Dennison said it was an exciting offer from Fonterra, who were looking after New Zealand children.

"The healthier our kids, the more active they are with their learning and the better it is for our schools," she said.

Waverley Park School principal Kerry Hawkins said he "absolutely" supported the initiative because not all children got enough milk at home.

"We just see the tip of the iceberg; kids are even better at hiding it than their parents," he said.

He likened the programme to in the past when all children were given milk in schools.

East Gore School principal Wes Gentle said Fonterra had been donating milk to the school for about three years.

"It's nothing new to us."

Pukerau Primary School principal Colleen Watt said it was a great idea and they would definitely put their hand up to get milk sent to the school.

Education Minister Hekia Parata said it was a great initiative that would add value to the lives of children.

The Government also provides an opt-in fruit in schools scheme for decile one and two primary and intermediate schools.

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- The Southland Times

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