Obama would be 'most welcome' but PM only adds to mystery over VIPs tipped to visit Queenstown




Prime Minister Bill English says Barack Obama would be most welcome but thinks he'd know if the former US president was about to visit Queenstown and Arrowtown.

Bill English says he thinks he'd know if a current or former head of state was bound for the tourist town.
Source: 1 NEWS

Speculation has been swirling following reports in Otago that a major police security operation was underway to protect a very important person due to arrive at the weekend for an Arrowtown-based visit that would involve golfing.

Asked today who's coming, Mr English said: "There's no head of state or former head of state turning up in Queenstown. I think we would know about that if that was the case."

Pressed on does he think former president Obama is going to come here soon, Mr English responded: Well I hope that he would. He'd be most welcome. He'd be probably our most famous tourist of the year."

US Vice President Mike Pence is to visit Sydney this Saturday, along with his wife and two daughters, as part of a whirlwind Asia-Pacific tour.

When asked if Mr Pence is coming across the ditch, Mr English said: "Certainly not as far as I know."

A spokesman for the Prime Minister issued a statement last night saying the Government is hosting a conference with a number of senior officials from overseas. 

“Due to specific security requirements we cannot comment further at this time. However, as police have pointed out they are not aware of a visit to Queenstown by a current or former head of state,” the spokesman said.  

The NZ Herald has reported that intelligence officials involved in the Five Eyes spy network are the people involved, including FBI director James Comey and CIA director Mike Pompeo.

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