06/08/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/07/2018 17:16
8 June 2018
Land Information New Zealand's (LINZ) Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has looked into the good character condition imposed on Matt Lauer.
Mr Lauer is director and owner of Orange Lakes which leases Hunter Valley Station in Central Otago, after being granted consent under the Overseas Investment Act. As part of the condition of consent, Mr Lauer is required to remain of good character in regards to his fitness to continue to hold the asset.
Mr Lauer's employment as presenter of NBC's Today Show was terminated in late November 2017 after a complaint was made of sexually inappropriate behaviour in the workplace. The OIO was immediately notified by Mr 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 Mr Lauer and his former employer (NBC), and taken legal advice. To the extent the OIO can make details about our investigation public, further details can be found here.
'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 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.'
Given that the OIO is continuing to monitor the matter and it does not want to jeopardise any ability to take action in the future if needed, the OIO will not make any further statements at this time.