Plain English Power has now closed

Dear friends of Plain English Power

Thank you so much for supporting Plain English Power.

This year Plain English Power steering committee has decided to disband the organisation. We are proud of what we have achieved, especially by raising parliamentarians’ awareness of the need for clear communication. However, the time has come for a different approach.

  • The WriteMark Plain English Awards have become a powerful alternative channel for influencing public opinion in New Zealand.
  • On LinkedIn, the Plain Language Association InterNational (PLAIN) group has 18,445 members.
  • The world’s most important international conference on plain language will be held in New Zealand for the first time this year. Do come! The Business of Clarity happens on 3-5 November 2016 at Te Papa.

We intend to carry on working in every way possible for our over-arching goal, which is that all public documents, laws and regulations be easy for the general public to read, understand, and use. We know that you will continue to contribute to this goal in your own ways, for which we thank you yet again.

Kind regards

Rachel McAlpine and Lynda Harris
on behalf of Plain English Power

About Plain English Power

Some information will remain on the Plain English Power website for reference until the domain lapses.

Plain English Power was a network of New Zealand residents promoting the use of plain English in official documents and web sites. We still believe that comprehensible information from government is a basic democratic right. The US passed The Plain Writing Act of 2010 on 13 October, 2010, and we want equivalent legislation for New Zealand.

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?