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2006 Roger Award Finalists Chosen

11 December 2006

2006 Roger Award Finalists Chosen
Title Vacant, Several Recidivists, A Couple Of Bolters

The seven finalists have been chosen for the 2006 Roger Award for the Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand. They are (in no particular order of preference): Telecom, Toll, ANZ, British American Tobacco, Progressive Enterprises, Contact Energy and ABB.

The title is vacant this year, as the 2005 joint winners (BNZ and Westpac) are absent. But the banks are represented once again, this time by ANZ, which has been a finalist before. Telecom won the Roger for the first time in 2004, having been a finalist every year since the Award’s inception in 1997. Toll is making its third appearance in as many years, having been third in 2005, and proving a worthy successor to multiple Roger winner, TranzRail. British American Tobacco has been a regular finalist and Contact Energy was runner up in 2004. Progressive Enterprises and ABB are the bolters, having proved themselves to be very worthy newcomers to the ranks of the finalists.

The judges are Laila Harre, from Auckland, National Secretary of the National Distribution Union and former Cabinet Minister; Mary-Ellen O’Connor, from Nelson, a senior educationalist and political activist; Geoff Bertram, from Wellington, a Victoria University economist; Brian Turner, from Christchurch, a Methodist minister 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 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 winner or winners will be announced at an event in Wellington on March 29, 2007. Details will be announced closer to the time.

The Roger Award is more necessary than ever. There was recent extensive media coverage about the first year of the 2005 Overseas Investment Act and its new “oversight” regime. That law has only one goal – to make the transnational corporate takeover of New Zealand even easier. The Overseas Investment Office has approved the sale of nearly $16 billion worth of NZ companies, land and property in its first year. Just reading the criteria why these seven transnational corporations have been selected as finalists for the 2006 Roger Award reminds us of the huge crime perpetrated on the people of New Zealand by a system that permits our country to be run as one big garage sale for the giants which dominate the global economy.

The Roger Award is organised by the two Christchurch-based groups, Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa and GATT Watchdog, with the support of Christian World Service. May the worst man win!

ENDS

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