Plain language: we want it too!

New Zealand's Plain Language Bill is sponsored by David Shearer, MP, a champion of plain language in Parliament. Passing this Bill would result in virtually no cost, save money, and please almost everyone.

The Plain Language Bill promotes the use of plain English in official documents and web sites. Comprehensible information from government is a basic democratic right. Plain language must become the standard for all official public and private communication in New Zealand. This Bill requires the New Zealand Government to start making that happen.

The US passed The Plain Writing Act of 2010 on 13 October, 2010. We believe New Zealand needs similar legislation.

Plain English Power supports the Plain Language Bill

Plain English Power is a network of New Zealand residents promoting the use of plain English in official documents and web sites.

Our members could hardly be more representative of New Zealand residents, from the Business Round Table to Age Concern. We all want government information to be intelligible. And so do most government organisations, for that matter: they need support, that's all.

Get it? That's the point of plain English

We believe gobbledygook is:

  • not fair
  • not democratic
  • not honest
  • not necessary.

We need to understand forms, contracts and instructions straight away, at first reading—without a translator or a lawyer. Is that so much to ask? A plain English document or web page can be understood by its intended reader. End of story.

Why legislation is needed

We want legal support for plain language as the standard for all government communications in New Zealand. We won't be satisfied with temporary, patchy solutions. Clear writing from government should not depend on a one-off budget or individual enthusiasts. It should be a permanent, government-wide legal requirement. Plain language saves money and improves service—so what's the problem?