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2007 Roger Award’s Eight Finalists Named

Three Golden Oldies, Five Newbies

The finalists for the annual Roger Award For the Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand in 2007 are (in no particular order of preference):

Pike River Coal
British American Tobacco (BAT)
Independent Liquor
APN News & Media (ANM)

Telecom is the only transnational corporation (TNC) to have been a finalist every year since the Roger Award started a decade ago – although it’s actually only ever won it once. This year, nominators (and a lot of its customers and media) were particularly incensed by the incredible cockup it made of changing its Xtra e-mail customers to Yahoo! BAT has also been a perennial finalist, although never a winner – it just keeps on finding new ways to sell and promote a product which kills up to 5,000 New Zealanders a year. Likewise, ANZ has been a finalist before but never a winner. Specifically one of the reasons it is a finalist because of its very shabby role in the ongoing saga of the collapse and takeover of Feltex. It has already won one “prize” as a result – the Shareholders’ Association’s annual Golden Glob Award.

This year’s eight finalists are not the same old same old – five are newbies: Spotless, Pike River Coal, Independent Liquor, ANM, and GlaxoSmithKline.

Spotless was nominated because of its heartless action in locking out hundreds of low paid hospital workers for nine days. Pike River Coal because of the sheer inappropriate nature (not to mention environmental damage) of opening a new major coal mine at the same time as the country is having to face up to the reality of global warming caused by burning fossil fuels. Independent Liquor is there because of its ruthless anti-worker, anti-union actions in the past year. ANM for much the same reason, specifically for contracting out its sub-editing work and making its own staff redundant in the process. Finally, GlaxoSmithKline because it was fined more than $200,000 after being caught out by two high school girls who proved that, for decades, it had made false claims about there being Vitamin C in Ribena.

The criteria for judging are by assessing the transnational (a corporation which is 25% or more foreign-owned) that has the most negative impact in each or all of the following categories:

Economic Dominance - Monopoly, profiteering, tax dodging, cultural imperialism

People - Unemployment, impact on tangata whenua, impact on women, impact on children, abuse of workers/conditions, health and safety of workers and the public, cultural imperialism

Environment - Environmental damage, abuse of animals

Political interference - Cultural imperialism, running an ideological crusade

The judges are: Laila Harre, from Auckland, National Secretary of the National Distribution Union and former Cabinet Minister; Anton Oliver, now of France, former All Black and environmentalist; Geoff Bertram, from Wellington, a Victoria University economist; Brian Turner, from Christchurch, President of the Methodist Church and social justice activist; Paul Corliss, from Christchurch, a life member of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union and Cee Payne-Harker, from Dunedin, Industrial Services Manager for the NZ Nurses’ Organisation and health issues activist. The winner(s) will be announced in March 2008 at an event in Christchurch.

The Roger Award is organised by the Christchurch-based groups Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa and GATT Watchdog.

Good luck to all the finalists. And may the worst man win!

Murray Horton
for the organisers

Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa

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