Disgraced US TV host Matt Lauer embroiled in dispute over central Otago property

  • 23/07/2018

Disgraced US television host Matt Lauer is embroiled in a messy dispute over a section of paradise he is the leaseholder of in central Otago.

The Walking Access Commission and Department of Conservation (DoC) are asking the Government for right of way through Hunter Valley Station - the largest lakefront property in New Zealand.

It borders Lake Wanaka and Lake Hāwea, and is owned by the Crown - but Lauer snapped up the lease for $13 million.

He passed a good character test months before allegations of sexual misconduct broke, causing him to be dumped from his job as anchor of NBC's Today Show.

His alleged behaviour included lewd remarks, grilling co-workers about their sex lives and exposing himself.

When he was granted the lease in central Otago, he was meant to show a willingness to negotiate access to the land as a condition of the purchase.

His company has opened up and upgraded some walking tracks, but locals say that's not good enough. They are having trouble getting access to the property, and they want unimpeded access to the area.

If locals and DoC get their way, Lauer could be entitled to millions in compensation.

Watch The Project's story on the dispute.