Further to the Edmonton Journal Article re Jason Kenney’s plan for power, the following are some items re Sir Roger Douglas, NZ Finance Minister.
Make way Golden Globes. There’s a new international trophy strutting the world stage. Step aside Oscar. Here comes The Roger.
This year’s winner – the Japanese company Juken Nissho, which operates three wood processing plants in New Zealand/Aotearoa – outshone the seven other finalists for ‘its horrifying safety record in its plants [269 notifications of serious harm to its workers between 1995 and 2003] and its arrogant disregard for the welfare of the Kaitaia community’ affected by its factory emissions.
The award’s name is in honour of former New Zealand Minister of Finance, Sir Roger Douglas. Roger is renowned for having done Reaganomics better than Maggie Thatcher during the 1980s. Sporting a competitive spirit worthy of the most extreme form of laissez-faire capitalism, Roger made sure that New Zealand’s public resources became the most privatized in the Western world. Through his policies, the New Zealand economy slipped increasingly into the hands of a small number of large transnational corporations. Between 1989 and 2003, foreign ownership of New Zealand companies increased by over 400 per cent.
AND WHO COULD FORGET OUR VERY OWN TransAlta
The 1999 Roger Award for the Worst Multinational Corporation in New Zealand was awarded to TransAlta, a Canadian power company which retails energy in Auckland and other New Zealand cities.
The annual award, administered by the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (the indigenous Maori name for New Zealand), is named after Sir Roger Douglas, a Minister of Finance in New Zealand’s 1984-90 Labor government, and is given to the multinational that has had the most negative impact in the country during the previous year.
Although TransAlta has agreed to sell its New Zealand assets to an Australian company, its “brief foray into New Zealand is a warning to the world of what can happen when basic infrastructural services such as electricity are privatized and deregulated,” the award’s judges stated.
According to the judges, during TransAlta’s seven years in New Zealand it 1) raised rates for consumers and small businesses, while cutting rates for big businesses; 2) sacked workers “to an extent which is causing those left to fear for their safety;” and 3) helped build two gas-fired power plants which are responsible for half the total national carbon dioxide emissions increases from 1990 to 1998.
TransAlta officials refused to comment when contacted by the Monitor. Past winners of the Roger Award include U.S.-owned Tranz Rail (for unsafe rolling stock) and Monsanto.