O'Riley says ATEED is accountable to Auckland ratepayers and would lose its mandate to represent and promote the island if Waiheke became independent.
"This would mean we could no longer provide funds to promote tourism, major events and other business activities relating to Waiheke.
"This includes promoting the island domestically and internationally to media and trade, providing funding for major events, and including local businesses and activities in bids for conference and incentive events," O'Riley says.
Waiheke Island Tourism Forum chairwoman Jenny Holmes says her members do not support a break away from ATEED.
The forum includes accommodation providers and restaurant owners, representatives of transport, events, the wine and olive industry, the arts and sustainability, as well as representation from Ngati Paoa.
EcoZip director Gavin Oliver says it would be a catastrophe.
"ATEED, as a multifaceted marketing agency packed with specialists and technical experts, provides a global reach that any replacement agency, driven out of an independent Waiheke council, could never hope to achieve."
The loss of events' funding is also a concern.
Waiheke Community Art Gallery director Linda Chalmers says the gallery's headland Sculpture on the Gulf received ATEED funds for the first time this year.
"It's something we've been working on for a number of years, so it would be most unfortunate to lose that leverage. Waiheke Rotary got some money for the Onetangi Beach Races, which is a significant event for Waiheke."
Is there a multi-million dollar promotional budget in the OW figures? Er no!
As I have been pointing out for six months now, tourism is the life-blood of the island and it is under threat from OW. The island economy thrives because of the success of our tourism operators. This has a knock on effect for most businesses, for employment and indirectly for home owners enjoying the benefits of rising house prices.
Without the backing of the tourism operators it is highly unlikely that the OW team will get past first base in its application to the Local Government Commission. Why? because the remit of the Commission is to promote good local government. This is defined in law.
"to meet the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses."
So far OW has managed to pull the wool over some people’s eyes with spurious ‘budgets’ and promises of lower rates. Dream on. They talk of a one million dollar contingency fund to cover the many unbudgetted items missing from their accounts. A million dollars goes nowhere in local government. It cost more than a million dollars to repair the damage from Cyclone Wilma alone in 2011 and there would be no Auckland to pick up the tab.
If the tourism operators will not back an isolationist Waiheke, then neither will the LGC. It’s as simple as that.