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Plain English a bottom line issue for businesses

20 November 2013

Plain English a bottom line issue for businesses

Simple language is a bottom line issue for businesses and more New Zealand organisations are recognising the fact.

The eighth annual search for the country’s plain English champions culminates on 3 December. The winners of the WriteMark New Zealand Plain English Awards will be announced at a ceremony in Wellington.

More than 140 entries were received across all categories and from all sectors, showing commitment to plain English by organisations throughout the country.

“A high number of entries from the financial sector is recognition that simplicity is a bottom-line issue for businesses,” says Gregory Fortuin, WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust Chair.

“We’re seeing organisations invest more time and energy into communicating clearly with the people who matter to them. There is greater understanding that clear and high-quality writing is a very important feature of organisational success,” says Mr Fortuin.

ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd. is a finalist in seven categories; the Ministry of Social Development, in two. Others include the High Court of New Zealand, an early childhood education centre, a rental company and Xero.

The Department of Internal Affairs, Inland Revenue, ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd. and Thorn Rentals NZ Ltd are all finalists in the Best Plain English Turnaround. This award recognises the best plain English rewrite of a document or website that was originally difficult to read.

Hamilton City Council and the State Services Commission are Brainstrain finalists — organisations which have been ‘dobbed in’ by members of the public for using gobbledygook. Hamilton City Council took the nomination on the chin for a factsheet which was several years old and has been withdrawn from circulation.

“While we are a little embarrassed — and somewhat disappointed — we have been nominated for this award, we’re treating it as a reminder we need to make sure we are clear and concise with information we provide to our community,” said Communications Manager Elizabeth Hughes.

“Enthusiasm and commitment to clear communication makes a huge difference in the lives of New Zealanders every day,” says Mr Fortuin.

Finalists for the 2013 Plain English Awards

Plain English Champion — Best Organisation

ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd
Department of Internal Affairs
Ministry of Social Development
Office of the Electricity and Gas Complaints Commissioner

Plain English Champion — Best Individual or Team

ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd — ANZ Wealth (Plain English Team)
Department of Internal Affairs — Digital Engagement Team
Statistics New Zealand — Editorial Team

Best Plain English Document — Public Sector / Non-Government Organisation (NGO)

Environmental Protection Authority — Hazardous Substances Toolbox
Ministry of Social Development — SKIP Tips for Parents series
Standards New Zealand — Standards Council Statement of Intent 2013–2016

Best Plain English Document — Private Sector

ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd — ANZ Retail’s ANZ Memorandum of Mortgage
ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd — ANZ Wealth’s ANZ KiwiSaver Scheme Investment Statement
DTR — Flip charts

Best Plain English Website — Public Sector / Non-Government Organisation (NGO)

Accident Compensation Corporation — www.acc.co.nz/disability
Careers New Zealand — www.careers.govt.nz
St Mary's Early Childhood Education Centre — www.stmaryschildcare.org.nz

Best Plain English Website — Private Sector

ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd — ANZ Wealth's www.anz.co.nz/futurewise
Equinox IT — www.equinox.co.nz
Martelli McKegg — www.martellimckegg.co.nz

Best Plain English Sentence Transformation

Xero — sentence from 'Add or edit a fixed asset'
Xero — sentence from 'Foreign currency bills and invoices'
Xero — sentence from 'View customer or supplier contact details'

Best Plain English Technical Communicator

Chloe Hooper, Statistics New Zealand
Kylie Mason, Ministry of Health
Ros Black, Xero

Best Plain English Investor Document

AMP Services (NZ) Ltd — AMP KiwiSaver Scheme Investment Statement
ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd — ANZ Wealth's ANZ KiwiSaver Scheme Investment Statement
ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd — ANZ Wealth's OneAnswer KiwiSaver Scheme Investment Statement and OnePath KiwiSaver Scheme Investment Statement (tied due to being similar)

Best Plain English Turnaround

ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd — ANZ Retail’s ANZ Memorandum of Mortgage
Department of Internal Affairs — from www.newzealand.govt.nz to https://beta.govt.nz
Inland Revenue — IR 240 and IR 333
Thorn Rentals NZ Ltd (trading as dtr) — flip charts

People's Choice — Best Plain English Communication

ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd — ANZ Wealth’s ANZ KiwiSaver Scheme Investment Statement
High Court of New Zealand — Justice Collins' Judgment HCC v LHDC

People's Choice — Worst 'Brainstrain' Communication

Hamilton City Council — Hatch, Match and Dispatch factsheet
State Services Commission — Job description: Director — Continuous Improvement

See www.plainenglishawards.org.nz for more information.

Ends

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