What the OAG said about the consultation
The OAG found that MOT consultation with formers owners and Māori was acceptable overall, but it made some criticisms.
The OAG said that MOT would have done better to contact former owners about the proposed sale (despite the law change to protect their rights). MOT knew that some aerodrome land had been Māori land. Some of the original Māori owners were likely to be from the same hapū and could have Treaty interests. Indeed, the Puketapu family regarded its land as hapū land even though, in law, it was owned in individual shares.
MOT's decision not to contact the hapū compromised its ability to meet Treaty obligations. Once land was sold to private owners, it was beyond the reach of Treaty claims.
The OAG said that MOT should have focused more on what the Waitangi Tribunal claimants said about who was affected. Specifically, MOT could have contacted the Puketapu hapū after that family was identified as having Treaty interests. Had MOT identified those interests earlier, it might have been able to address them.
MOT could also have focused more on how to address iwi and hapū concerns about surplus land. It had clearly been in a position to determine which land was surplus before the sale, but it was more concerned about the time that negotiating a solution might take. MOT was under pressure to complete the sale before 30 June 1995.