Disgraced US TV host cleared to keep Queenstown property

by Anne Marie May / 08 June, 2018

Matt Lauer will be allowed to retain his Queenstown property. Photo / Getty Images

A disgraced American TV host forced out of his job in November after allegations of sexual misconduct has been cleared to retain his South Island property.

Matt Lauer bought the lease for the Hunter Valley Station near Queenstown just over a year ago and the consent for that requires him to be a person of good character.

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) began an investigation after his employer, NBC News, issued a statement late last year explaining it had terminated Mr Lauer's employment due to sexually inappropriate behaviour in the workplace in relation to a colleague.

Until then he had fronted the channel's Today programme for over 20 years.

NBC stated it was the first complaint it had received about Mr Lauer's behaviour in that time but indicated the behaviour may not have been an isolated incident.

An OIO investigation obtained sworn statements from Mr Lauer.

However, an OIO spokesperson said the statements could not be made public as they contained confidential material relating to the terms of his employment.

"The OIO relies on the accuracy and truthfulness of the statements made by Mr Lauer.

"For completeness, we note that it is an offence to knowingly or recklessly make a false or misleading statement to the OIO."

The organisation also spoke to NBC and reviewed several allegations made against Matt Lauer on various media platforms.

In its report the OIO said: "While some of the allegations are troubling, the OIO cannot, and does not, rely on any unverified material or allegations made on social media."

The report said Mr Lauer acted inappropriately and in breach of his terms of employment but there was "nothing to raise a legitimate concern that he might misuse his position within Orange Lakes to replicate behaviour".

"The OIO has taken into account that while Mr and Mrs Lauer are the ultimate owners ... they are not involved in the daily operation of the Hunter Valley station and they continue to reside in the United States," the report said.

Land Information's overseas investment deputy chief executive Lisa Barrett said after taking legal advice the organisation had insufficient evidence to take proceedings against Mr Lauer.

"Mr Lauer has not been charged with any offence, nor convicted, and the evidence available to the OIO at this time does not establish that Mr Lauer is unfit to continue to hold the asset.

"However, in reaching this position we do not condone the inappropriate way that Mr Lauer has behaved."

The OIO would continue to actively monitor the matter should further information come to light, Ms Barrett said

It had made clear to Matt Lauer his continuing obligation to remain of good character.

This article was originally published by RNZ.


The enduring sandwich: What's not to like about bread and fillings?
94342 2018-09-23 00:00:00Z Food

The enduring sandwich: What's not to like about br…

by Margo White

Despite an apparent backlash against bread – against carbohydrates and gluten – the sandwich endures.

Read more
Humanity is on 'the highway to digital dictatorship', says Yuval Noah Harari
96527 2018-09-22 00:00:00Z Social issues

Humanity is on 'the highway to digital dictatorshi…

by Andrew Anthony

The author of worldwide bestsellers Sapiens and Homo Deus says our free will is at stake. We talk to Yuval Noah Harari about his new book.

Read more
Why there's no 'clash of civilisations' between Islam and the West
96558 2018-09-22 00:00:00Z Social issues

Why there's no 'clash of civilisations' between Is…

by Yuval Noah Harari

There is just one civilisation in the world, writes Yuval Noah Harari, and the West and Islam are joint participants in it.

Read more
The Kiwi cicada expert who's just 11 years old
94985 2018-09-22 00:00:00Z Science

The Kiwi cicada expert who's just 11 years old

by Ken Downie

Hamilton entomologist Olly Hills isn’t in high school yet, but he’s already a world expert – and he wrote a book.

Read more
Thackeray's Vanity Fair gets a clever update for the millenial age
96633 2018-09-22 00:00:00Z Television

Thackeray's Vanity Fair gets a clever update for t…

by Russell Brown

A new TV version of William Makepeace Thackeray’s 19th-century satirical novel taps into today's celebrity-Instagram culture.

Read more
The debate over the Serena Williams controversy was a dialogue of the deaf
96659 2018-09-22 00:00:00Z Sport

The debate over the Serena Williams controversy wa…

by Paul Thomas

Serena Williams’ US Open outburst was unbecoming but the umpire made a mess of his response.

Read more
The classical blokes saluting unsung women composers
96670 2018-09-21 14:16:06Z Music

The classical blokes saluting unsung women compose…

by The Listener

The suffrage celebrations get a soundtrack from all-male ensemble NZTrio.

Read more
Labour MPs stand behind Jacinda Ardern's action on Meka Whaitiri
96630 2018-09-21 07:31:30Z Politics

Labour MPs stand behind Jacinda Ardern's action on…

by Gia Garrick

The public will have to wait to see a report into an assault claim against MP Meka Whaitiri, who was yesterday stripped of her ministerial portfolios.

Read more