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The real election? - Roger Award finalists named
30 November 1999
FINALISTS NAMED FOR THE ROGER AWARD FOR THE WORST TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATION IN NEW ZEALAND IN 1999
Whilst New Zealanders have been engrossed in our general election, the rest of the world's interest is in the forthcoming Millennium Round of the World Trade Organisation, which opens this week in Seattle. The WTO stands for "globalisation" ie increasing domination of the global economy by transnational corporations (TNCs). Nobody gets a vote for them, least of all in New Zealand, where they exercise an even greater influence in the economy, courtesy of Government policies over the past 15 years.
So the three Christchurch-based groups which organise the annual Roger Award see it as being the real election. TNCs are the real "government" of New Zealand; we asked the public to vote for which ones are the worst. Nominations have closed, and now the finalists are off to the judges.
The seven finalists are: News Ltd, which owns the INL media chain (a previous runner up); WestpacTrust; Tranz Rail; Monsanto (both previous winners); Telecom; Waste Management and TransAlta.
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, impact on women, health and safety of workers and the public.
The judges are: Simon Collins, editor City Voice, Wellington; Maxine Gay, president, NZ Trade Union Fedration, Wellington; Moana Jackson, Maori Legal Service, Wellington; and Professor Jane Kelsey, Auckland. The winner(s) will be announced in Christchurch, on February 18, 2000.
From politicians of all stripes, "experts" and the media (itself owned by a handful of transnational corporations) the public is constantly bombarded with the corporate agenda. Namely, that what is Good For Big Business is Good For New Zealand. We say that it ain't necessarily so. The Roger Award holds an unflattering mirror up to the ugly side of Big Business and exposes the lie that unfettered corporate power is the best - and only - way. The Roger Award is part of our challenge to the newly elected Government - what are you going to do to control and roll back the power of our real, unelected government, the transnational corporations?
Murray Horton, CAFCA