20 Oct 2022

Plain Language Bill passes into law

3:41 pm on 20 October 2022
hand working on paper for proofreading. marking paper. grading paper.

Photo: 123RF

A bill to promote the use of plain language within the public sector has passed into law.

In a statement, Labour MP for Nelson Rachel Boyack confirmed the Plain Language Bill to promote the use of plain language in official documents and websites, passed its third reading last night.

Boyack, who sponsored the bill, said it would ensure public service websites and documents used plain language in place of jargon.

"The Bill requires the public service to communicate with New Zealanders in a clear and concise way that is understandable," Boyack said.

The change was a "common sense" move that would make engagement with the public sector would be simpler for New Zealanders, she said.

"It will require the Public Service Commissioner to issue plain language guidance to government agencies, helping them explain things in a way that is accessible to all New Zealanders

"Much of the information we receive as members of the public from government departments uses complicated language, jargon and unnecessary acronyms. This is a common sense change that will make engaging with the public sector simpler for New Zealanders."

The law was based on the United States Plain Writing Act of 2010 which requires the US Federal Government to produce public documents in a 'clear, concise, well-organized' manner, Boyack said.

The Bill is now awaiting Royal Assent.

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