Roger award goes to tobacco firm

The annual "Roger Award for Worst Transnational Corporation" operating in New Zealand has gone to British American Tobacco (BAT).

The award, named after former finance minister and ACT Party co-founder Sir Roger Douglas and organised by the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa, was announced in Auckland tonight.

The panel of six judges said BAT's product killed 5000 people every year and ruined the lives of tens of thousands.

"It perennially refuses to take responsibility for the social and economic consequences of its activity, while maintaining a major public relations effort to subvert the efforts of the Government to reduce cigarette consumption."

It was "a conspicuously bad corporate citizen", they said.

The first Roger was awarded in 1997. Past winners include Telecom, supermarket group Progressive Enterprises, Tranz Rail and Monsanto.

The 2008 award judges were former Waikato University vice-chancellor Bryan Gould, Victoria University economist Geoff Bertram, immediate past-president of the Methodist Church Brian Turner, writer Christine Dann and trade unionists Paul Corliss and Cee Payne.


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