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Roger Award - Worst Transnational Corp. Finalists

Finalists Announced for Roger Award For Worst Transnational Corporation in NZ in 2000

Nominations closed at the end of last year for the fourth annual Roger Award for the worst transnational corporation operating in New Zealand in 2000, organised by GATT Watchdog and the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA).

The award will be announced at a function in Wellington on the evening of Thursday April 5th. The finalists are BP, WestpacTrust, Tranz Rail, Transalta, Shandwick and British American Tobacco.

"We had a record number of nominations for the Roger Award last year from people all over New Zealand. There is widespread community concern about the effects of successive governments' evangelical devotion to throwing open the economy, privatising public services, and attracting overseas investors with little regard for the negative social, economic, cultural and environmental impact," said a GATT Watchdog spokeswoman, Leigh Cookson.

"The UNCTAD World Investment Report 2000 ranked New Zealand at the top of its table for the most transnationalised economy in the OECD. Most of New Zealand's productive, financial, energy, retail, transport and communications is now in the hands of transnationals -the true beneficiaries of the years of extreme free market reforms and an unrestricted foreign investment regime."

"The Roger Award has proven to have an uncanny track record of winkling out these transnational wrongdoers. The 1997 winner was Tranz Rail - it made tremendous public protest at being named that year's Worst Transnational Corporation In New Zealand. But now we see that it is beating a path to the door to get out of the country. Virtually all of its business divisions are for sale, and its American owner, Wisconsin Central Transportation, has itself been the subject of a tremendous boardroom battle, and, most recently, taken over by Canada's national railroad company. Monsanto was the 1998 winner - all the agrichemical and genetics transnationals are now under the scrutiny of the Royal Commission of Inquiry Into Genetic Engineering. And TransAlta was the 1999 winner -it couldn't even wait for the Award to be announced before its Canadian owners sold out to an Australian company. There can only be one conclusion - they didn't like being Rogered."

The judges are Maxine Gay (former president of the NZ Trade Union Federation), Dr Prue Hyman, Professor of Women's Studies, Victoria University, and Jim Delahunty of CORPWatch. The criteria for judging are by assessing the transnational corporation that has the most negative impact in each or all of the following fields: unemployment, monopoly, profiteering, abuse of workers/conditions, political interference, environmental damage, cultural imperialism, impact on tangata whenua, running an ideological crusade, impact on women, health and safety of workers and the public.

For further comment please contact: Leigh Cookson, GATT Watchdog

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