New Zealand PM Bill English cooks tinned spaghetti pizza for his family of eight, and the nation is now divided

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 April, 2017, 3:16pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 April, 2017, 10:27pm

If a prime minister wants to truly unite a nation – one way not to do it is to cook a pizza with spaghetti topping.

This seems to be the lesson that New Zealand’s leader, Bill English, can take away after he dabbled in the kitchen and sprinkled his result on social media this week.

On Tuesday night English cooked dinner for his family – a 1980s rural Kiwi classic: tinned spaghetti and pineapple pizza. Later, he posted a series of photos of his home-spun efforts on Facebook.

The photographs, blurry and un-retouched, caused a culinary uproar on Facebook and Twitter, with some Kiwis declaring they couldn’t vote for a prime minister who so wantonly bastardised Italian cuisine.

“Can’t believe you posted this. Not being a pizza snob or anything but assume that you have sampled real pizza at least once in your life?” wrote one.

“Why on earth would you promote such garbage? Would you serve this stuff to your international guests?? or is this just for the masses?”

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Some also wondered whether the PM’s light-hearted and seemingly spontaneous post was in fact an effort to divert attention from more serious issues being debated in New Zealand – including whether English should order an investigation into alleged war crimes by New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan in 2010.

“If you’re trying to deflect attention from Afghanistan or the continued mismanagement of common pool resources you’re doing a good job mate because this is a monstrosity. Couldn’t even keep the toppings from sliding off the base?” wrote one outraged commentator.

Others however, applauded his efforts to cook simply and cheaply for his family of eight. Some said tinned spaghetti and pineapple pizza was a nostalgic staple of a Southland childhood (English hails from the tiny farming community of Dipton at the bottom of the South Island) and they praised his budget-friendly dinner as an affordable option for “beneficiaries”.

One woman wrote: “Yup this is how we made pizzas growing up! Must be a Southland thing! Still make them like this for my kids and they love them. Sometimes we use baked beans – oops, maybe I’ve just opened another can of worms……”