7 Oct 2015

Auckland Council fuels spelling debate

2:21 pm on 7 October 2015

The Auckland Council has spent a quarter of a million dollars revamping communications with residents - but can it spell?

In the middle of the front cover of its re-designed monthly Our Auckland magazine is the headline "What's fueling Auckland's house prices?" Fuelling is spelt with one "l".

Auckland Council can't spell

'What's fueling Auckland's house prices?' Photo: RNZ / Todd Niall

"It's wrong," said Greg Treadwell, a senior lecturer in journalism at Auckland's AUT University. "In New Zealand we spell it fuelling."

"It's another invasion from the United States, as are the increasing incidences of 'traveling', 'organization' and 'center'.

Writer Peter Calder was less emphatic. "To call it a misspelling or a mistake may be a bit of a stretch," he said.

"However it seems fair to me to say that it is a blunder, particularly when it is by people who work in communication."

The new-look council magazine is part of a revamp which included spending $225,000 on a new website, and another $50,000 spent on "supporting search functionality and building awareness."

Auckland City Council building

Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The council has admitted the mistake.

"The spelling of fueling as opposed to fuelling on the front cover of this month's Our Auckland print edition is down to a simple case of human error," said its head of Brand and Channel Debbie Lowe.

"Auckland Council's style is to use UK English rather than American spelling and this was nothing more than a genuine oversight."

On the Auckland Council's website the story uses one "l" on the homepage link, but two "l's" on the website version of the story.

It turns out no-one is beyond reproach: Radio New Zealand found it once spelled fuelling incorrectly on its website. 


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