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29 Apr 2017 3:56
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  •   Home > News > Living & Travel

    Rumour rife ahead of reported VIP visit

    Rumours are swirling about who a "very important person" reportedly due to touch down in Queenstown may be.

    From former US President Barack Obama to the world's richest man Bill Gates, rumours are swirling around the identity of a "very important person" reportedly scheduled to touch down in Queenstown might be.

    Authorities have denied there's a former head of state on the way but a spokesman for Prime Minister Bill English confirmed the government was hosting a conference with a number of "senior officials from overseas".

    "Due to specific security requirements we cannot comment further at this time," he said.

    "However as police have pointed out they are not aware of a visit to Queenstown by a current or former head of state."

    The Otago Daily Times on Wednesday reported "several well-placed sources" had said a major police security operation was under way to protect a ''very, very important person'' due to arrive at the weekend.

    Twice as many police officers would be involved as when Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrived two months ago - based out of Arrowtown - and the week-long trip would involve golfing, it said.

    But a spokeswoman for the Department of Internal Affairs told NZ Newswire the department was not part of any visits to Queenstown.

    Visits by a head of state or former head of state would likely involve the department, she said.

    Police earlier confirmed they weren't aware of a visit by a current or former head of state.

    The South Island tourist hotspot isn't short of famous visitors.

    Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon made headlines with glowing reviews of the area during a visit earlier this year.

    Former US President Bill Clinton also stayed in Arrowtown following the 1999 APEC Leaders' Meeting, while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stayed a night in 2014.

    Actress Bryce Dallas Howard is currently in the area.

    © 2017 NZN, NZCity

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