Former “Today” host Matt Lauer has kept a low profile since he was fired by NBC last year, but he’s finally ready for his first interview!
In an exclusive radio interview with Checkpoint with John Campbell, Lauer opened up about his battle with the New Zealand government over his Hunter Valley Station ranch, which he purchased last year for $9 million.
The government is looking to build an easement on his 16,000-acre property so hikers can get to the Hawea Conservation Park.
Lauer is against the idea, arguing, “The easement itself would create a problem. All of a sudden we would have no way of knowing who's back there. One of the directors of one of the groups said it would be carefully managed. Well, by who? Is there going to be someone from Walking Access Commission sitting on the side of the road, or are the people that farm that property going to have to sit there and count every person who goes back there, and what's going to happen when they get back there and they don't come back out? Are we supposed to stop farming that land and go look for them?"
In Lauer’s opinion, those asking for access to the park are “taking advantage of the difficult times I’ve been through over the past six months.” He added, “I think they see me as an easy mark.”
When Campbell mentioned that it might not have anything to do with his dismissal from NBC, Lauer answered, “I think most of the articles that I have read, John, and the comments I’ve heard on radio programs, they make very frequent reference to that because they think New Zealanders are going to find some outrage. I will tell people they don’t know the circumstances of that situation.”
If an easement is granted, however, Lauer said he would “explore” the options of compensation, but pointed out that the easement would “set a precedent” for other property owners.