2005 Roger Award Finalists Chosen
2005 ROGER AWARD FINALISTS CHOSEN
It’s A Bumper Crop This Year
The finalists have been chosen for the 2005 Roger Award for the Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand. There are eight transnational corporations (TNCs), equalling the highest number ever (from 2003). They are (in no particular order of preference): Telecom, Westpac, Toll, BNZ, Comalco, Guardian Healthcare, Merck Sharp and Dohme, and British American Tobacco.
Telecom is the defending champion, having been a finalist every year since the Award’s inception in 1997, but not actually winning it until 2004. Toll is making its second appearance, having taken ownership of the railways in 2004 (this has been its first full year of ownership). Westpac, British American Tobacco and Comalco (and/or its subsidiary, NZ Aluminium Smelters Ltd) have all been finalists before, more than once in some cases. The BNZ, Guardian Healthcare, and Mercks Sharp and Dohme are the, very worthy, newcomers to the ranks of the finalists.
The judges are: John Minto, from Auckland, a veteran political activist, National Chairperson of the Quality Public Education Coalition and a spokesperson for Global Peace and Justice Auckland; Maire Leadbeater, from Auckland, a veteran anti-nuclear and human rights activist, current spokesperson for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee; Laila Harre, from Auckland, National Secretary of the National Distribution Union and former Cabinet Minister; and Mary-Ellen O’Connor, from Nelson, a senior educationalist and political activist.
The criteria for judging are by assessing the transnational 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 winner or winners will be announced at an event in Auckland on March 6, 2006 organised by Global Peace and Justice Auckland. Details will be announced closer to the time.
The Roger Award, sadly, shows no sign of not being needed. In fact, it is more necessary than ever, in light of the new 2005 Overseas Investment Act. That law has only one goal – to make the transnational corporate takeover of New Zealand even easier. Just reading the criteria why the above eight TNCs have been selected as finalists for the 2005 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.
Bad luck to all the finalists. And may the worst man win!
The Roger Award is organised by the two Christchurch-based groups, Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) and GATT Watchdog.
Full details of the Roger Award can be read online at www.cafca.org.nz