- Photo by Neil Kerr/Getty Images
- New Zealand is seeking further information about the sexual-misconduct allegations made against Matt Lauer to decide whether he is still fit to own property in the country.
- The country requires foreigners who purchase land to be “of good character.”
- Lauer had purchased a 16,000-acre ranch worth $9.1 million on New Zealand’s South Island earlier this year.
- Last month, NBC fired Lauer after a colleague accused the TV anchor of sexual misconduct.
New Zealand is seeking further information about the sexual-misconduct allegations made against Matt Lauer to determine whether the former TV host is still fit to own property in New Zealand.
Matt and his wife, Annette, through Orange Lakes Ltd., purchased a 16,000-acre cattle and sheep farm near Lake Wanaka on New Zealand’s South Island earlier this year. But New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office, which regulates foreign investment in New Zealand, stipulates foreigners who seek to purchase land in New Zealand must be “of good character.”
A spokeswoman for the agency, Lisa Barrett, told Business Insider that it is “aware that allegations have been made in relation to Matt Lauer.”
“We are discussing this with his representative and are seeking further information,” Barrett said. “A condition of the consent granted to Orange Lakes Ltd. to purchase the lease for Hunter Valley Station is that the individuals with control of that company must continue to be of good character.”
Valley Station has 30 kilometers of lakefront access, a five-bedroom homestead, stables, 10 huts, and four airstrips. According to the New Zealand Herald, the property is worth $9.1 million.
Last month, NBC fired Lauer after a colleague accused the TV anchor of sexual misconduct. Lauer had been a TV personality on the network for over two decades.
Lauer released a public statement on the allegations, saying, “Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.”
According to the Overseas Investment Office, when determining an investor’s good character, the office takes into account any ongoing allegations or investigations into any criminal offenses.
Barrett said the Overseas Investment Office can “seek orders, through the Courts, that require people to dispose of property,” if they are deemed to lack good character.
The New Zealand government has been cracking down on foreign investors buying property in the country in order to tackle the nation’s housing crisis. In October, New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, introduced legislation to bar foreign buyers from purchasing existing homes.
According to the Guardian, the country has become a hotspot for wealthy Americans, who see the country as a safe investment away from the politically unstable climate of the rest of the world.