It sounds like Matt Lauer might have spoiled things for the rest of us as far as land ownership in New Zealand goes. When Lauer and his soon to be ex-wife Annette Roque were still together, they bought a farm in the Hunter Valley of New Zealand. But as part of the purchase, they signed a type of ethics clause which some thought Lauer might have violated.
PageSix says that as a result of the Lauer matter, which includes the purchase of prime property that blocked off what used to be considered a public right of way, those who are not citizens of New Zealand can no longer invest in homes in the country.
In one of his first interviews since his termination from the Today show, Lauer went on New Zealand radio to defend not allowing people to cross any part of his 27k acre property. The former newsman spoke about his Hunter Valley Station property where sheep and cattle are raised, on Radio New Zealand.
“Lauer, who spent $9.2 million in February 2017 on the ranch, is being accused of denying access to a public wilderness area that can only be reached by a dirt road that crosses his ranch.”
John Campbell, the host on the radio show, spoke out against Lauer’s control of what was a right of way.
“Isn’t it actually that you want to control this beautiful piece of land? Why the hell should Matt Lauer have access to this land when we [Kiwis] have to jump through hoops to get onto it?”
Matt Lauer insisted that people demanding access to his property were simply taking advantage of his recent misfortune.
“[People are] unfortunately taking advantage of some difficult times I’ve been through over the past six months, and I think they see me as an easy mark.”
But soon after this interview, the New Zealand government prepared to vote on banning absentee foreign owners from purchasing a property.
“Matt Lauer is the poster child for the kind of absentee foreign owners the Kiwis don’t want. But he is just one of thousands.”
Last Wednesday, the vote came in to ban most foreign owners from purchasing property going forward.
But it was also determined through another investigation that Matt Lauer could hold on to his property as he was never actually charged with a crime in the United States. The clause was about being of “good character” and Lauer and Roque signed it at the time of their land purchase.
After Lauer was fired from Today, Lisa Barrett, Deputy Chief Executive of Policy and Overseas Investment in New Zealand, explained that they would be doing their own research into the Lauer matter.
“The Overseas Investment Office is aware that allegations have been made in relation to Matt Lauer and that he is no longer working for NBC News in the USA. We are discussing this with his representative and are seeking further information.”