Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Finalist: Best Plain English Document — Public Sector 2018

New Zealand Drug Foundation

Document name

Whakawātea te Huarahi; a model drug law to 2020 and beyond

Judges’ comments

The chunking of information and evidence works well. You have made your key points clear and provided supporting ideas for those who want the detail. The case studies illustrate your points well. Your headings are clear and inviting.

A fine example of plain language. It’s conversational and engaging. Good use of the active voice.

Media statement

Being recognised for making the hazy issue of drug law reform more understandable is a great honour.

Many New Zealanders think we can punish our way out of the drug problems we face. The NZ Drug Foundation argues that 40 years of punitive drug laws has failed. Instead of repeating past mistakes we must try something new. There is ample evidence supporting a shift to public health and human rights based drug law.

To make sure people understand why change is essential and how to get there, we prepared Whakawātea te Huarahi: a model drug law to 2020 and beyond. We wanted this document to reach a wide audience and, just as importantly, to promote debate on the path ahead. In the year since Whakawātea te Huarahi was launched there has been increasing acceptance from the public, media and policy makers that drug law reform is an acceptable public policy choice. We continue to use the document and actively advocate for drug law that supports people rather than punishing them.

Stephen Blyth

New Zealand Drug Foundation