Jacinda Ardern reveals cheese roll craving as Covid strips her sense of taste

Ms Ardern was speaking during the annual release of the New Zealand budget


New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed a craving for cheese rolls after losing her sense of taste and smell due to Covid-19.

Ms Ardern tested positive for the virus last week, with her office saying she was showing moderate symptoms.

Thursday marked the annual release of the budget in New Zealand.

Ms Ardern tested positive for Covid-19 last week
Ms Ardern tested positive for Covid-19 last week
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

On the day of the budget, Ms Ardern traditionally sits down with Finance Minister Grant Robertson to eat cheese rolls.

A cheese roll is a New Zealand delicacy which includes a sauce of evaporated milk, cheese and onion soup inside a roll of toasted bread.

But this year, with the Prime Minister isolating, the cheese rolls had to be shared over an Instagram live stream.

Commenting on the food, Ms Ardern said: “They’re going to taste just as good, but do you know what, I’m not going to know, because I’ve lost all my taste.”

Before Mr Roberston jokingly replied: “Enjoy your cheese roll, think about the texture rather than the taste on this occasion.”

Within the budget itself, New Zealand's Government promised to spend more than NZ$1 billion (£511million) to help people cope with inflation that has reached three-decade highs in the Pacific nation.

The public deficit for the current financial year, ending on June 30, will be narrower than previously forecast but a return to surplus will take longer than expected, the government said in its annual budget announcement.

Heavy spending will be targeted towards defence, infrastructure, including new schools, and the country’s health system, which will see more funding for drugs and, again, infrastructure.

"As the pandemic subsides, other challenges both long-term and more immediate, have come to the fore. This Budget responds to those challenges," Ms Ardern said in a statement.

She added: "COVID-19, climate change and the war in Ukraine have taught us we need to build a more secure economy that protects New Zealand households from the external shocks we know are coming."