Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Finalist: People’s Choice — Worst Brainstrain Communication 2019

Christchurch City Council

Document name

Te Wai Ora o Tāne Draft Integrated Water Strategy

Judges’ comment

This is an attempt to outline a strategy for safe water use and improvement in Christchurch. Mostly it’s well-meaning. It outlines who the different stakeholders are and the importance of water quality to each of them. However, it’s overly complicated and wordy. The headings are good but the text needs work, so ordinary people can make sense of it.

This document, whilst displaying many good qualities, particularly in the carefully designed PDF version, has numerous other weaknesses that can all be addressed in future documents by Christchurch City Council. I believe a more simply-presented but better edited document would have better served Christchurch residents, for no additional cost.

The document looks good and has a clear design. It is structured and written with care. I would suggest the Christchurch City Council write a summary in plain English.

Media statement

At Christchurch City Council we embrace te reo Māori. Staff and elected councillors and community board members are encouraged to gain proficiency in the language and to use it. Incorporating te reo Māori, one of three official languages in New Zealand, into our documents is one of the ways we are promoting the language.

We are proud of Te Wai Ora o Tāne Draft Integrated Water Strategy, which was developed working together with our community and Ngāi Tahu and reflects the importance of water/wai to Christchurch.

We acknowledge the feedback of inconsistent spelling and we will make changes to the document to address this in the final publication of the document.

Emma Davis
Head of Strategic Policy
Strategy and Transformation
Christchurch City Council