Asshole appears to be an acceptable word to use in a submission to Hamilton City Council, but don't dare say F*** or bugger.

Hamilton City Council has reluctantly handed over a list of naughty words which staff removed from public submissions on its long-term plan.

The list of eight words includes the F and S words and two variations of them, as well as bloody bugger and twat. The C word was also a no no.

Under the rules Hamilton councillor Dave Macpherson would be allowed to label the censorship a "pile of crap". He was told "wanker" was also allowed.


However, his subsequent comment that the censorship was "bull****" could be a grey area as only s**** is on the list of forbidden words.

"You could say it was a brown area," Macpherson quipped.

Bugger was also blacklisted, however the word buggar appeared to survive staff scrutiny in a submission sighted by the Herald.

Macpherson and fellow councillor Angela O'Leary have slammed the censorship of public submissions by council staff, saying the public should be allowed to say what they want and that they want to know how they are feeling even if it's not nice.

But in a council briefing earlier this week mayor Andrew King strongly supported the censorship.

"I want to make it really clear that I don't think it's acceptable for either my members, my colleagues or my staff to be called genitalia - male of female ...

"I don't want to have to read submission after submission ... we might be elected members, but we still have feelings. We can still get hurt and do get hurt."

Hamilton City Council has defended the process taken around redacting words from 110 submissions, saying it only removed addresses and phone numbers for privacy reasons, offensive words and defamatory statements.


The council was adamant the meaning of submissions had not been lost due to the "overly cautious" censoring.

Hamilton City Council general manager of strategy and communication Sean Hickey earlier this week refused to provide the list of swear words staff were told to remove.

"We think people can probably work out what these words are likely to include..."

However he eventually released the list to the Herald on Thursday.

The rules around censoring other parts of the document were given verbally.

"There is no formal policy covering these redactions, however we took legal advice and guidelines were broadly discussed with staff which covered three areas...," he said.

Council estimated 5 per cent of the submissions had a word or words redacted and only 23 offensive words were removed from more than 2000 submissions.

Hickey said he was "absolutely confident" the redaction process would not stop elected members making informed decisions through the 10-Year Plan process.

The council has also defended the consultation process and analysis of reports where staff took no response as a yes - dramatically changing the results of a question.

Chief executive Richard Briggs said the figures were not skewed and had provided good information for councillors to consider.

"The analysis has not been skewed, it accurately reflects responses to the questions put... However it is expected councillors will read the submissions and form their own views.

Council's lawyer also told councillors at a meeting on Thursday that he was "confident and comfortable" with the process council had taken pointing out it was not a referendum.

Hearings for the 10-year-plan start Friday.

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