By ALAN PERROTT

Your starter question for 10 points, no conferring: where is New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark?

Sorry, no clues - we haven't got any.

The whereabouts of our country's leading lady has become one of the summer's unexpected mysteries.

Gossip has abounded.

Perhaps Scandinavia.

Perhaps London.

Unlike her previous summer exploits, up and down Tanzania's Mt Kilimanjaro and half-way up and down Mt Aconcagua in Argentina, this year's Christmas holiday is happening undercover.

Helen Clark's chief press secretary, Mike Munro, is "not at liberty" to divulge her location and will not pin her down even to a particular continent.

"She is intensely private about her holiday arrangements and we have been asked not to say where she is," he added.

John Tulloch, spokesman for the holidaying Government's duty minister Phil Goff, said he didn't know where she was, but seemed fairly certain she was overseas.

Should war break out he was confident the Prime Minister's staff would be able to contact her somehow, even though Mr Munro is about to go bush himself.

The answering Machine at the Prime Minister's Mt Eden home was of little help.

The message suggested callers leave a message of their own or contact her electorate office, which is closed until Monday.

Her official website offers little help, but does list her interests as cross-country skiing, mountaineering, opera, music, drama, current affairs, reading, walking, and generally keeping fit.

Maybe our leader is dramatically skiing on some snowy mountain with La Boheme on the headphones and the Herald tucked under an arm.

The prime MInisterial plans don't seem to have slipped out over dinner at parliamentary restaurant Bellamy's, but there is plenty of speculation.

Opposition Leader Bill English said it was not usual for New Zealand Prime Ministers to disappear.

However, he said he would not be surprised if Helen Clark followed up her successful television appearance in the United States with a visit to Hollywood.

"She might be hanging around looking for a bit part," he suggested.

It's all a long way from the days when the late Sir Robert Muldoon was Prime Minister.

He could always be found in a gaudy Hawaiian shirt at his bach at Hatfields Beach near Orewa.