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Barack Obama to head to New Zealand

Barack Obama to head to New Zealand”

Former US President Barack Obama is due to visit New Zealand in March.

He is due to land in the country about March 21 in a trip being arranged by Air New Zealand, although the contract is not yet finalised, NZME says.

A visit to these shores by Obama has always been the subject of speculation.

It was announced previous year that former Prime Minister, Sir John Key was spreading his wings and joined the board of Air New Zealand, which may of been a deciding factor for Obama to come to New Zealand and potentially promote airline due to their friendship, the Herald reports. According to U.S. media Obama was securing about $400,000 in speaking fees alone in the the United States.

While Obama is now a regular citizen - even called to appear for jury duty in Chicago in November - his appearance in New Zealand is likely to attract more attention than some official state visits.

Obama has often promised to travel to New Zealand but did not do so while he was in office. They both have holiday homes in Hawaii and in 2014 played golf together there.

"He's a wonderful guy", Mr Obama said.

Shortly before he left office, former ambassador US Mark Gilbert, a former major league baseballer and Democratic Party fundraiser, said the visit will happen eventually.

The last President to visit was Bill Clinton who came in 1999 for the APEC Summit - a visit that included a game of golf with former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley's husband Burton Shipley. "Whether he comes before he leaves office or after he leaves office, I do believe that he will come to New Zealand".



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