Government ministers are refusing to discuss the expected upcoming visit of former US President Barack Obama, but the Governor-General says a visit would be fantastic and has even offered him a place to stay.

Obama is understood to be visiting from about March 20 under an arrangement with Air NZ.

The final contracts are yet to be signed and although the Government is the majority shareholder of Air NZ, its ministers are declining to comment, saying there is no confirmation of the visit.

After her powhiri on to the upper marae at Waitangi this morning, Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy said a visit by Obama would be " fantastic."


"What a wonderful man he has been and still is, I'm sure . . . terrific for New Zealand for him to be here. I'd love to meet him. He would definitely be welcome at Government House.

Obama's trip is expected to include golf, likely at Kauri Cliffs which is one of Key's favourite courses in New Zealand. Key has previously gone under his handicap at Kauri Cliffs and will no doubt be hoping for a home advantage for his rematch with Obama.

Obama is also likely to undertake speaking engagements.

It is not known what the fee will be.

Last December Air NZ chief executive Chris Luxon said Air NZ was looking at adding new routes to its programme, including Chicago and New York. Obama's home city is Chicago.