Barack Obama to head to New Zealand

  • 04/02/2018
epa04899327 US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at an event in the East Room welcoming the 2014 WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury to the White House, to honor the team and their victory in the WNBA Finals, in Washington, DC, USA, 26 August 2015.  EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Former US President Barack Obama may be finally heading to New Zealand this March, according to reports.

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.

Former Prime Minister John Key is now on the Air NZ board and may have played a part in getting Mr Obama to fulfil a long-held promise to visit New Zealand, according to NZME.

The two former leaders struck up a warm friendship while in office with Mr Obama giving Mr Key a warm send-off when he stepped aside as Prime Minister in 2016, thanking him for their eight years of friendship.

Mr Obama was captured in a video at the 2015 APEC summit in Manila praising Mr Key to Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull.

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

"He and I have become good friends, and not just because we play golf together."

NZN