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2004 Roger Award Winner(s) To Be Announced May 2

2004 Roger Award Winner(s) To Be Announced May 2

The winner or winners of the annual Roger Award for the Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand in 2004 will be announced on:

Monday May 2, 7.30 p.m. at Knox Presbyterian Church Hall, 28 Bealey Avenue, Christchurch.

Details of the evening's programme will be announced soon.

The finalists are (in no particular order of preference): Ernslaw One, McDonalds, Telecom, Westpac, Toll, Mitsubishi, and Contact Energy.

It's a wide open field in the sense that it contains no previous winner. Toll is making its first appearance, as it only took over ownership of the railways in mid 2004, so its Roger career is off to a flying start. The previous, inglorious, owner – TranzRail – won three out of the first six Roger Awards and was declared ineligible for nomination, being shunted permanently into the Hall of Shame. Telecom has been a virtually permanent fixture in the finalists since the Roger started, in 1997, and has won all sorts of special awards from the judges (such as the 2003 one for Monopoly Profiteering) but never the big one. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Westpac, too, has been a finalist before. McDonalds and Contact Energy are high profile transnational corporations and have been nominated in previous years. Mitsubishi is a newcomer, the first time a car TNC has featured.

The judges are: John Minto, veteran Auckland activist and National Chairperson of the Quality Public Education Coalition; Alister Barry, renowned documentary maker, of Wellington; Maire Leadbeater, a veteran peace and social justice activist, from Auckland; and Edwina Hughes, the coordinator of Peace Movement Aotearoa, in Wellington.

The criteria for judging are by assessing the transnational that has the most negative impact in New Zealand 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, tax dodging, impact on women, impact on health and safety of workers, and the public.

The Roger Award is more necessary than ever, in light of the new Overseas Investment Bill. The aim of that exercise is to make the transnational corporate takeover of New Zealand that much easier. Just reading the criteria why the above seven TNCs have been selected as finalists for the 2004 Roger Award reminds us of the huge crime perpetrated on the people of New Zealand by a system that permits our country to be converted into a backwater branch office of the corporations that rule the world.

Murray Horton
for the Roger Award organisers
GATT Watchdog & CAFCA

Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa
Box 2258, Christchurch, New Zealand

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