New Zealand’s ‘good character’ rules could cost Matt Lauer the $9-million lakefront ranch he bought there

  • New Zealand is seeking further information on sexual misconduct allegations against Matt Lauer to decide if he is still fit to own property in the country.
  • The country requires foreigners who purchase land in New Zealand to be "of good character." 
  • Lauer 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 on Matt Lauer's sexual misconduct allegations to determine if 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 spokesperson for the agency, Lisa Barrett, told Business Insider 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," said Barrett. "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."

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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 before his fall from grace.

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.

RELATED: Matt Lauer through the years

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Matt Lauer (Photo by Deborah Feingold/Corbis via Getty Images)
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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 Jacinta Ardern introduced legislation to ban 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.

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