Barack Obama's NZ visit kicks off: Luxury accommodation and golf course former US President will play at revealed

The luxury accommodation former US President Barack Obama will be staying at tonight in Northland's Bay of Islands is The Landing, 1 NEWS understands.

The lodge which looks picturesquely down upon Rangihoua Bay and takes its name from its history as the place of arrival of New Zealand’s first European settlers.

He also talks about the work Barack Obama will do. Source: 1 NEWS

1 NEWS understands President Obama will be playing with John Key and others at Kauri Cliffs golf course further north.

There has been a heavy police presence over the course during the past few days and there's a flight restriction over Kauri Cliffs.

President Obama touched down at Auckland Airport last night and is believed to be flying by helicopter to the Bay of Islands. 

The former US President is paying his first visit to New Zealand. Source: Breakfast

Talks fail at Lyttelton port, staff to continue strike action

Rail and Maritime Union members will continue strike action today after mediation between them and Lyttelton Port Company reached a stalemate.

The industrial action is over safety and pay conditions for port workers, and the 200-or-so workers will be on strike until Sunday.

RMTU organiser John Kerr said last week that the union engaged in negotiations in good faith and agreed to discuss options for settlement in confidence.

"The RMTU put eight scenarios for settlement to LPC that would have moved us towards settlement and ended the prospect of further strike action, some of which had negligible cost to the employer," he said.

"We are dismayed and disappointed to report that LPC has not amended its position one jot ... It appears to us that LPC is unwavering in its determination to attempt to break the will of our members and to inflict unnecessary pain upon the Canterbury economy.

"All our members are seeking is equality with other workers on the waterfront ... it's sad it's come to this."

The Rail and Maritime Transport Union says it wants pay equality with other workers at the port. Source: 1 NEWS


Watch: Barack Obama touches down in Auckland in private jet as former US President's first visit to New Zealand kicks off

Barack Obama is expected to fly by helicopter north from Auckland today to play golf with Sir John Key and other guests after touching down in Auckland last night in a private jet.

The former US president is in New Zealand for a whistle stop speaking visit, although much of his time here remains shrouded in secrecy.

But yesterday former prime minister Sir John Key, former president's golfing buddy, opened up about the games they'll play.

He also talks about the work Barack Obama will do. Source: 1 NEWS

"He's competitive and he's an absolute stickler for the rules, unlike a few former presidents who are sort of known for using the foot wedge so to speak," Sir John said. 

1 NEWS understands Obama will play golf at the Kauri Cliffs in Northland.

"He has a hundred million people that follow him on Twitter and Facebook and the likes. You put up one picture of a New Zealand golf course and him having a bit of fun, that's got to have a fantastic value for us," Sir John said.

Our former PM says the reason for the former US President's visit this week is really to showcase New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

At around $550,000 for a public speaking engagement, Mr Obama now earns in a night what he was paid annually as US president.

New Zealand-United States Council chairman Leon Grice says the visit is "a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the New Zealand- United States relationship".

As president, Barack Obama's every word and move was chronicled. But the movements of private citizen Obama are carefully guarded. Auckland Airport would not tell 1 NEWS when he was arriving and police said his security arrangements are confidential.

On Thursday, Mr Obama will be in front of the cameras - a powhiri will be held at Government House in Auckland and he'll hold a meeting there with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

But the cameras are banished for the invite-only event on Auckland's waterfront for business and community leaders, moderated by actor Sam Neil.  

Sir John Key said: "The New Zealanders who get an opportunity to meet Barack Obama "will come away feeling they've met a real world leader, a statesman, a great guy."

Mr Grice said what President Obama stood for and continues to stand for "is how do we make our leadership more diverse and more inclusive".

On Friday, the Obama magic heads to Australia.

The former US President is paying his first visit to New Zealand. Source: Breakfast