by Rod Lampard from The Spectator, Australia
New Zealand Labour, supported by the Greens, and Māori Party, have passed ‘plain language’ legislation, which will require all branches of government to employ language compliance officers.
Advocates of the new law defended the bill arguing, in sum, that a bigger bureaucracy was better for democracy.
The language compliance legislation’s author and Labour member for Nelson, Rachel Boyack, told Parliament:
‘New Zealand is at its best when we can all understand and easily participate in our democracy.
‘When government agencies are explaining services, benefits, or how to comply with requirements, they should use plain language and avoid jargon. Plain language that the intended reader can easily understand after one reading is the aim of this bill.’
Jurist explained the ‘plain language’ law demands ‘all reporting agencies appoint plain language officers’.
These are compliance officers employed by respective departments to essentially police the use of language.
Apologising for local councils being exempt from the law, the member for Nelson asserted that ‘plain language officers’ were allegedly there to benefit ‘people who have English as their second language’.
The Guardian, Gollum-giddy over the one-ring-to-rule-them all law, gushed over the Ardern government’s assertions, and declared that the ‘plain language law’ would ‘make for a more inclusive democracy’.
Inspiration for the language compliance law came from an Obama-era legislation in the United States known as the Plain Writing Act of 2010.
Insinuating that her law was more about helping the government than helping the people, Boyack said, ‘When that legislation was introduced [by Obama in America], the compliance for people to pay things like taxes and fines actually went up because information was presented in a clearer way for people to understand.’
As was summed up by Radio New Zealand, they rightly opposed the bill, calling the language compliance law ‘costly, pointless, unnecessary’ warning that ‘plain language police’ were a ‘step towards a future where ‘Woke’ language-police from the liberal clerics control everything we say’.
Radio New Zealand (RNZ) reported that Boyack laughed off the opposing viewpoints, with The Guardian, and, the RNZ, taking the opportunity to mock both the NZ National and ACT parties, as well as the English language.
The difference between the US and NZ ‘plain language’ laws couldn’t be plainer.
First, for all of his (mostly second term) faults, Obama, unlike Ardern, never declared his government to be the public’s, quote – ‘single source of truth’ – unquote.
Secondly, while the US legislation requires mandatory compliance reporting, the US law does not specify, or command the creation of a ‘plain language police force’.