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Roger Award Report Questions Winner’s Finances

Roger Award Report Questions Winner’s Finances

In February the Japanese forestry company Juken Nissho was declared the winner of the 2003 Roger Award for the Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand. It won because of its appalling health and safety record in its processing plants (Kaitaia, Gisborne and Masterton) and because of the dreadful pollution generated by its Kaitaia triboard mill.

The Judges Report can be read at http:// http://www.cafca.org.nz Click on Views, Analyses and Research, and follow the Roger Award Links. This Report contains a financial analysis of the winner that raises some disturbing questions about Juken Nissho. It concludes:

A review of Juken Nissho’s most recent five years annual financial reports (1999- 2003) reveals that:

Juken Nissho’s "investments" in New Zealand are totally debt-financed and that under normal circumstances the company would be insolvent. It seems likely that creditors encounter difficulty collecting debts from the company;

The company holds licences over Crown Forests that require 35 years notice of termination in the event of a binding Waitangi Tribunal recommendation that the land be handed back to Maori;

Many of the company’s transactions seem to occur through related parties and, therefore, may provide a way to shift profits offshore and avoid tax liabilities;

The company reports losses and pays no tax;

Juken Nissho’s auditor, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, has also been the company’s tax adviser.

The full financial analysis can be found in the final two pages of the Judges’ Report (see above for how to access that).

Currently the Government is conducting a review of the foreign investment laws. What better time for an indepth investigation of a major transnational player in the forestry industry? As well as its behaviour in the fields of health and safety, and pollution, Juken Nissho needs its finances looked at closely. What emerges is not a pretty picture.

The Government must seize the opportunity posed by its review to considerably tighten up the laws that allow transnational corporations such as Juken Nissho into New Zealand. This is one company that is most definitely not "in the national interest". And there’s plenty more like it. Murray Horton for the organisers CAFCA & GATT Watchdog.

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