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Monsanto wins award in NZ

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-----Original Message-----
From: Gatt Watchdog <>
To: <>
Cc: <>;
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Date: Wednesday, April 28, 1999 12:45 AM
Subject: [asia-apec 1096] NZ - Roger Award

The Roger Award
PO Box 1905
Aotearoa/New Zealand

Monsanto Wins Roger Award For Worst Transnational Corporation In NZ; Tranz
Rail, Fletcher Challenge, Business Round Table Also Win

The panel of judges for the Award was: Sukhi Turner, Mayor of Dunedin,
Annette Sykes, Ngati Pikiao lawyer and Treaty activist,
Moana Jackson, Director, Nga Kaiwhakamarama I Nga Ture (Maori Legal
Service), and Maxine Gay, President, NZ Trade Union Federation. Sukhi Turner
is announcing the Award at a function at 8pm today at the Trade Union
Centre, 199 Armagh St, Christchurch.

Tonight's award ceremony, organised by Corso, GATT Watchdog, and the
Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa is part
of a programme of events opposed to the APEC meetings currently taking place
in Christchurch.

The annual award is given to the transnational corporation judged to have
had 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; pursuing an
ideological crusade; impact on women, and health and safety
of workers and the public.

An excerpt from the judges' report reads: "This US corporate giant is not
only seeking to control and monopolise the production
of agricultural produce in the global economy, it is also responsible for
promoting research and development on a wide range of genetically engineered
products that have the potential to irreversibly alter and damage the
ecosystem of the planet and the food supply of future generations. This
threat needs to be taken seriously by New Zealanders as Monsanto is already
petitioning the Environmental Risk Management Agency (ERMA) to grow
genetically modified Canola over several hundred hectares on North
Canterbury and Southland farms to produce seeds for the Canadian market.

Perhaps more worrying is the establishment of a Crown Institute/Monsanto
quango, Gene Pool, with the backing of the Royal Society (representing the
scientific establishment) to campaign for New Zealand to become a site in
the development of genetic engineering. Such a strategy is also backed by
Federated Farmers of New Zealand. It seems that just as the 1980s saw New
Zealand become the testing ground for neo-liberalism or 'Rogernomics,' so
the country is to become a laboratory for genetically modified organisms
(GMOs) in the 21st century, the effects of which could be devastating for
the environment, food supply, and population."

The judges also gave Fletcher Challenge a 'dishonourable award' because of
"the negative impact of the company's forestry and
pulp and paper operations in the Central North Island which have inflicted
so much damage on indigenous communities....[D]espite
claims to the contrary, the sale of the former ForestCorp has led to many
job losses in communities such as Rotorua, Kaingaroa,
and Taupo". Tranz Rail receives a 'continuity award' for "the company's
persistent failure to address its appalling safety
record, for which it received the inaugural 1997 Roger Award".

The other finalists were Independent Newspapers Ltd (INL), Carter Holt
Harvey, and Telecom.

Leigh Cookson, a spokeswoman for the Roger Award organisers, said: "In the
year that the government hosts APEC (Asia Pacific
Economic Cooperation), it is well worth noting that Monsanto actively
participates in APEC's Agricultural Technical Cooperation
Experts' Group Committee, especially in its biotechnology workshops. APEC is
just one of the tools being used to expand the rights
of corporations like Monsanto to maximise their profits regardless of the
costs to peoples and the environment. The Roger Award
is one way to hold big business accountable and generate some much needed
debate about the role of transnational corporations
in New Zealand".

The three organisations behind the Roger Award have also created a new
"Collaborator's Award" for the New Zealand individual or
organisation which has collaborated most with transnational corporations.

"The inaugural award goes to the the local mouthpiece for the interests of
global capital in New Zealand, the Business RoundTable,
for its ongoing political interference and its advocacy of profit-first,
people-last policies at national and local government level,",
says Ms Cookson.

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