Remember the Plain English Awards ceremony in 2018? As well as being the last time we held the full Awards, this inspiring event saw guest speaker Justin Lester, Wellington mayor at the time, describe Wellington as the City of Clarity.
Now New Zealand has the chance to become a ‘country of clarity’. It’s fitting that our guest speaker for the Awards ceremony is Nelson MP Rachel Boyack. Rachel’s private member’s bill, the Plain Language Bill, was recently drawn in the ballot.
Why country of clarity? With the potential for this bill to become law, New Zealand could join the countries around the world that have a legislative basis for plain language in their government agencies and public communications.
The Bill promotes the use of plain English in official documents and websites. Comprehensible information from government organisations is a basic democratic right. Plain English must become the standard for all official public and private communication in New Zealand. This Bill requires the New Zealand Government to start making that happen.
Rachel is eloquent when talking about the benefits of plain language for everyone in the community. She’s excited to be championing a cause she believes in through supporting the Bill.
It’s not about dumbing down the language but making it easier for people to understand.
We’re honoured that Rachel has kindly agreed to be our guest speaker in spite of her busy schedule. We look forward to hearing her contribution to the Awards ceremony.
Rachel lives in Nelson with her husband Scott, and before entering Parliament she worked as a health and safety coordinator for the Anglican Diocese of Nelson.
In her previous role as an organiser with FIRST Union, she negotiated collective employment agreements with large companies like Nelson Pine, lifting wages for hundreds of workers in the Nelson region.
Rachel has volunteered on the Boards of Nelson Women’s and Children’s Refuge and the Nelson Environment Centre. She was the Chair of Labour’s Policy Council leading up to the last election.
A trained singer, she has a Music Degree from the University of Auckland and was a member of the New Zealand Youth Choir. She also enjoys spending time at Nelson’s beautiful Tahunanui Beach with Scott and their Labrador, Phoebe.