Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Finalist: Best Plain English Website — Public Sector / Non-Government Organisation 2014

Commerce Commission

Website address

Judges’ comment

The judges found it an excellent site, and it was a close contender for the winner this year. The site states the law in everyday language, at the same time as making it clear it is dealing with legal matters that must be complied with. The layout and design, especially the use of colour to help the user, is masterful.

Media statement

Commerce Commission makes the Plain English Awards finals again

The Commerce Commission is pleased to again be a finalist in the Plain English Awards in two categories: best plain English website and best plain English document.

‘Over the last few years we have put a lot of effort into making sure we communicate more effectively with New Zealanders. We know that clear communication about what we do, how we do it, and why we do it is critical to our success as an organisation,’ said Brent Alderton, Chief Executive.

The Commission has made plain English an everyday part of its work,  and all staff are provided with intensive plain English training.

‘We are now publishing documents that are clearer and easier to read. Plain English has become embedded in our culture,’ said Mr Alderton.

The Know your rights as a consumer brochure is one of two examples to make the Plain English Awards finals. It was developed to help consumers understand what their key rights are under consumer protection legislation. Communicating these messages was especially important this year as the Fair Trading Act was overhauled for the first time in over 20 years. The Commission saw a need to make sure that consumers, and businesses, knew what their rights and obligations are in relation to things like buying and selling online, extended warranties, and door-to-door and telemarketing sales.

The second example that has made the finals relates to the Commission’s work with the construction sector. This sector is incredibly important to New Zealand’s economy for a number of reasons. However, overseas experience indicates that the sector is particularly susceptible to anti-competitive practices. So, the Commission has been working with the sector for several years to help educate them about competition and consumer law to increase compliance.

‘The idea for the construction website arose from our work with the sector. We saw the need for a user-friendly guide specifically tailored to the needs of construction businesses and workers to help them understand and comply with the laws that we enforce,’ said Mr Alderton. ‘We have tried to make the language on the website down-to-earth and practical. And we’ve put in lots of examples to help make the concepts more relevant.’

Victoria Rogers
Senior Communications Adviser

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