This tit for tat going on between John Key and Steve Maharey is starting to look quite silly.
Let's see if I can track it;
Sunday - National Party Leader John Key has announced the first initiative in what will be a National Food in Schools programme. "National is committed to providing practical solutions to the problems which Helen Clark says don’t exist," says Mr Key.
During his State of the Nation speech on Tuesday, Mr Key indicated National would seek to introduce a food in schools programme at our poorest schools in partnership with the business community.
Mr Key has since received an approach from Auckland-based company Tasti foods. "I approached Wesley Primary School yesterday, a decile 1 school near McGehan Close, a street that has had more than its fair share of problems in recent times. I am told Wesley Primary, like so many schools in New Zealand, has too many kids turning up hungry.
Yesterday am - The Government is denying it bullied an Auckland school principal into rejecting a National Party offer of free food for her pupils.
National's leader, John Key, announced on Saturday his party was launching a Food for Schools programme, with Wesley Primary School the first to receive a donation from the Tasti Foods company.
But Wesley principal Rae Parkin said all she had been expecting was some muesli bars for fund-raising.
"John Key hasn't even visited my school," she said.
"This is embarrassing. I don't want to end up with parents thinking I'm putting something in place because I don't think they can feed their children. They can feed them."
The decile one school is near McGechan Close, one of the "mean streets" Mr Key identified in his speech last week when he talked about an "underclass" in New Zealand.
Ms Parkin said she had been shocked when she read about Mr Key's announcement in a newspaper.
Mr Key said his offer had been clear, and he had told Ms Parkin there would be media interest.
He said she had changed her attitude during the last 48 hours.
"The only assumption I can make is that there was external influence.
"I think what you can assume is that there's been influence from the ministry, from the Labour Party."
Education Minister Steve Maharey said Mr Key's allegations were disgraceful.
Yesterday 2pm - Maharey says, Key out of touch
National leader John Key's offer to supply breakfast to Wesley School shows how out of touch he is, says Education Minister Steve Maharey.
Mr Maharey said today that John Key arranged for Te Atatu cereal maker Tasti Products to supply breakfast to students without properly consulting the school.
"The breakfast plan for Wesley School was not needed nor asked for. It is just another national party stunt; an insulting stunt for which John Key should apologise to the school and the community."
This morning - Mr Maharey said low-income parents were keen to look after their children as best they could and "don't need this kind of patronising attitude that comes from people like John Key who never go near them except for publicity stunts".
He said allegations by Mr Key that Labour pressured Wesley Primary School into rejecting free food were untrue and insulting, and the National leader should apologise for them.
"That school has an enormous amount of help and the parents are good parents," Mr Maharey said.
"It is a strong local community and the school was deeply insulted by the thought that its parents were going to get a national profile for not feeding their kids when they went to school."
Mr Key yesterday said he stood by his claim that that Wesley came under Labour Party pressure.
1pm today - Key says, Labour’s standover tactics on school food won’t work
National will not stand for bullying and will carry on with its Foods in Schools initiative by not identifying the schools involved, says National Party Leader John Key.
“Wesley Primary has been subject to standover tactics and bullying from this Labour Government, which cares more about making political points than making sure kids are well-fed.
2pm today - Maharey says key is seeking to cover his embarrassing mistake
Education Minister, Steve Maharey, says John Key has mounted a ridiculous cover up campaign to try to hide a political stunt that went wrong.
Mr Maharey restates that no government member or official had any contact with Wesley School regarding the National party's plan to offer the school breakfast supplies.
He says John Key is persisting with the silly notion that Wesley School was pressured by the Labour government, and that is simply not true
Not a good look on either part. Key should have stopped taking the bait.
Have you noticed that Maharey has been doing all the running on Key. Labour has pitted its youngest best-looking against National's.
Update; But wait....there's more....just in...will Key bite again?
Today 4.23pm - National should apologise for its legacy of poverty
The National Party leader should come up with some clear policies on eliminating poverty, rather than just handing out muesli bars, says the Education Minister, Steve Maharey.
"In fact John Key should apologise for the levels of poverty National subjected New Zealanders to through its policies of the 1990s", says Steve Maharey.
Mr Maharey says the National Party needs to admit its own actions, such as slashing benefits and market rates for state housing, created misery for many.
"He says National needs to demonstrate a real commitment to moving away from such damaging policies."
13 minutes ago