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Rumour rife ahead of reported VIP visit

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/04/2017
President Barack Obama speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 2, 2015: President Barack Obama. © AP President Barack Obama.

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

But authorities have denied there's an high-profile visitor on the way.

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 arrive two months ago - based out of Arrowtown - and the week-long trip would involve golfing, it said.

The news sparked the rumour mill, including the suggestion former US President Barack Obama could be the mystery guest.

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.

And while police say they do not comment on security matters in general, they are "not aware of a visit to Queenstown by a former or current head of state".

Queenstown and Arrowtown have been major draw-cards for big name visitors.

Celebrities 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.

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