Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Winner: Best Plain English Sentence Transformation 2014

Lesley Hanes, Statistics New Zealand

Judge Maryland Spencer with Lesley Hanes, Statistics

Name of document

‘Income tables’ [webpage]

Original sentence: 28 words

For customised statistics or suggestions of cross-tabulations that you require but were not able to produce from these particular tables, you may wish to request some customised data.

Rewritten sentence: 16 words

If you don’t find what you need in these tables, contact our Customised Data Services team.
[Note the words ‘Customised Data Services’ are linked to a page about the service]

Judges’ comment

The rewrite beautifully captures the original, gives instructions with sharp accuracy and a link to assistance, and uses a friendly tone.

Media statement

I’m honoured to be named as a winner in this year’s WriteMark Plain English Awards. Statistics New Zealand’s goal is to provide New Zealand with the information it needs.

Our Customised Data Services team provide an excellent service and I didn’t want a bad sentence getting in the way of that. The sentence was published before our Plain English Standard came along — it wouldn’t make it onto our website these days.

It’s great to get recognition of this transformation from such talented plain English practitioners. Statistics NZ is committed to making our information available to people, in the way they want it. Making it clearly understandable is very important.

Lesley Hanes
User experience consultant