This story hit the news in New Zealand yesterday. An Auckland primary school has decided to adhere strictly to the new national healthy eating guidelines and will ban birthday cakes from the school.

My initial reaction was WHAT???? How can they take this polictical correctness and adherence to stupid rules so far? What harm does a slice of birthday cake do to a kid? Frankly, I was horrified.

I happened to catch an interview with the school principal on the news last night. Yes, itís true. They are banning birthday cakes from the school and part of the reason is because they believe in the healthy eating guidelines. However, the main reason is the entire birthday cake thing has turned into an expensive competition between parents. Evidently the kids prefer expensive cakes purchased from a bakery and when the cake needs to be big enough to feed 30 children, that means serious money. Some parents couldnít afford to pay for a cake and others, with busy lives, didnít have time to bake a cake. The school took the decision to ban all cakes and remove the extra expensive from the parentsí budget, because after all, educating a child these days is expensive enough without adding extras.

The owner of the local bakery was also interviewed. Wonít it cut into profits? the reporter asked. No, not really. Parents still purchased cakes from her bakery but the cakes were shared after school with close friends and family. Wasnít that what birthdays were about? No, the bakery owner wasnít concerned in the slightest.

After hearing all this, I was much happier, but I notice that most of the media still chose to highlight the healthy food guidelines rather than the commonsense rationale behind the decision.

You can read the story here.

We never had birthday cake at school. We had after-school parties where we invited our friends. What do you do with regard to birthday cakes?