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7 June 2019

Give us your bad language

We’re looking for documents or webpages that you love or loathe.

We want nominations for the People’s Choice category of the annual Plain English Awards. The People’s Choice category is supported by Consumer NZ.

You can enter a document or webpage from any New Zealand business or government organisation for these awards.

The People’s Choice – Best Plain English Communication award honours the most outstanding example of a plain English document or webpage.

The People’s Choice – Worst “Brainstrain” award goes to the document or webpage most notable for confusing and dumbfounding its target audience with jargon and waffle.

Last year, the Brainstrain award went to the Companies Office for its document Companies Office Societies and Trusts Online. The judges panned the online form as “hard to use due to the disorganised and visually unappealing way it presents its information”.

Winner of the Best Plain English Communication was the Commission for Financial Capability for its guide Thinking of Living in a Retirement Village? The judges said the guide “breaks down highly complex, life-changing information into accessible chunks that the average New Zealander can easily absorb”.

The Plain English Awards aim to bring plain English into common use in New Zealand. Entries are judged by a panel of plain English specialists and advocates.

Entries for this year’s Plain English Awards close on 30 August. To make a nomination, visit

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