After Matt Lauer was fired from NBC’s Today Show in late November 2017 following a complaint made regarding sexually inappropriate behavior in the workplace, New Zealand took note. In fact, they had to under their Overseas Investment Act.
Lauer bought Orange Lakes, which leases Hunter Valley Station — a ranch off the shore of Lake Hawea, after being granted consent under the Overseas Investment Act. As part of the condition of consent, Lauer is required to remain of good character in regards to his fitness to continue to hold the asset.
The OIO was immediately notified by Lauer’s New Zealand representative of the matter. Following this notification, an investigation was initiated to consider if enforcement action should be taken for a breach of the condition to remain of good character.
“After investigating the matter and taking legal advice, we have reached the position that we have insufficient evidence at this time to take proceedings against Mr Lauer for breach of the condition,” says LINZ Deputy Chief Executive Policy and Overseas Investment Lisa Barrett.
“However, the OIO will continue to actively monitor the matter should further information come to light. In addition, the OIO has made it clear to Mr Lauer of his continuing obligation to remain of good character as a condition of his OIO consent.”
In the course of its inquiries, the OIO has considered the allegations raised and whether there had been any criminal conduct. It has considered and tested confidential information supplied by both Lauer and his former employer (NBC), and taken legal advice.
“In order to take any enforcement proceedings for a breach of the good character condition, the OIO needs to consider the nature of the allegation, what evidence there is about the allegation, and the seriousness of the matter. The types of things we would need to consider are whether the person has been found guilty of an offence.”
“Mr Lauer has not been charged with any offense, 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.”