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New Zealand’s plain-English awards event shows the way

[5 Dec 2012] Congratulations to the WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust of New Zealand for running a competition that helps to highlight the best and worst attempts at written communication there. You can see full details of the results, plus photos of the presentation ceremony, at

The annual event has generated plentiful publicity for the plain-language cause in New Zealand since 2006. Although the commercial WriteMark Group set the thing going, an appealing feature of the competition is that the judges – and there are about 35 of them from all over the world – are named and independent, and the judging process is openly and clearly described. The terms and conditions state:  ‘Avoiding conflict of interest: You cannot enter a document or website that has been edited by Write Limited or a judge for that award.’

The event aims to:

  • improve government and business documents so that all New Zealanders can understand them  
  • raise public awareness of the need for, and benefits of, plain English  
  • create a public preference for organisations that choose to communicate in plain English.
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