Stratford District Council in Taranaki is defending its decision to keep a report critical of an oil drilling application out of the hands of the commissioner responsible for deciding whether a well would go ahead.
The report, commissioned by the council, was critical of Tag Oil's consent application, for a well site in Ngaere, near Stratford.
It described the application for the Cheal G Well, as vague, puzzling, inconsistent, minimalist and just acceptable.
The report was discovered by anti-oil protestor Sarah Roberts after consent had been granted.
The council said had the information would have been included if it had been important.
The Commissioner would not say whether he should have seen the report.
Exploration of the well is now underway.