Bridges: If kids become reliant on free lunches, how will they cope when we’re in power?

National is concerned what will become of the nation's soon-to-be-fed children when they take their lunches away.

National is concerned what will become of the nation’s soon-to-be-fed children when they take their lunches away.

Opposition leader Simon Bridges has criticized the Government’s plan to give primary and intermediate school children free lunches, saying that they could “become dependent” on them, and not know how to fare for themselves when National takes power.

Bridges, who has been riding a wave of momentum afforded to him by saying “mums and dads” a lot, launched his attack outside a bakery on Victoria Street this afternoon.

“Just giving lunch to children sounds like a great idea, don’t get me wrong,” said Bridges, pausing to carefully pick the tomato and cucumber from his chicken sandwich. “In the short term, they may get fed, they may even enjoy it, but we need to be breeding strong kids, not weak kids, hard kids, not soft kids, adults, not… children, or kids.

“And the question I have for this government is, has this been thought through? Has the Government thought of the consequences for these kids when we take power and take those lunches away?”

Bridges said children may be taught they don’t have to work for their own food, and that a “nice lady Prime Minister” will just “give it to them.”

“And in the long term, that’s just not how it’s going to work. That’s not what real life will be like for them. In a National economy, getting lunch will be very, very difficult.”

As Bridges spoke to media, perennial rival Judith Collins was holding her own press conference to address school lunches, as well as invite any queries about “polling numbers generally”, something that Bridges described as “fine.”

Collins said it would be a “disaster” for the Government to teach children in low decile schools that they don’t need to forage for food, or hone any of their hunting and gathering skills.

“If kids aren’t going to be out there in the yard roughhousing one another for food, then why are we giving them such long lunch breaks?” she asked.

Collins said if children wanted lunches comfortably delivered to them, they could get a job or liquidate their shares like everyone else.

The Government will be trialing its policy of free lunches for primary students at a series of select schools around the country. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand may also become the first country where all schools will offer free measles.