Matt Lauer Might Lose His Expansive New Zealand Farm
Earlier this week, NBC fired longtime Today show anchor Matt Lauer following seriously disturbing allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior. The news has dominated domestic headlines ever since. On Thursday, Lauer made international headlines as well when New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office disclosed that they are revisiting Lauer’s early-2017 purchase of a 16,000-acre farm.
The now-former broadcaster purchased the lease for Hunter Valley Station, a massive ranch on the shores of Lake Hawea, at the beginning of 2017. Lauer and his wife Annette Roque, both of whom HC&G featured on the cover of our July 1, 2015 issue, acquired the property through their company, Orange Lakes Ltd, for a reported $9.2 million.
Lisa Barrett, the Deputy Chief Executive of Policy and Overseas Investment for the agency, stated, “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.”
As the agency questions if Matt Lauer still qualifies as an individual “of good character,” New Zealand citizens may be celebrating the potential change in ownership. Lauer’s acquisition of the property caused controversy in the beautiful country, which is increasingly unhappy with the amount of wealthy foreigners buying land. In Hunter Valley Station’s case, the deal ruffled even more feathers because it did not grant public access to the property, which neighbors Hawea Conservation Park.
The New York Times, who first broke the story, reports that starting next year, New Zealand will “ban the sale of existing homes to nonresidents.”