Successive Waiheke Community Boards and the previous Waiheke Local Board have actively supported tourism as the main driver of the island’s economy and businesses. Tourism helps focus us on environmental excellence and a healthy local economy creates local jobs that allow families and children to stay on the island.
This long term planning has borne fruit. Waiheke now enjoys an international reputation as a visitor destination, famous for its beauty, beaches, vineyards, cafes and restaurants. Major internationally renowned festivals like Headland Sculpture on the Gulf showcase the island.
The Auckland Visitor Plan is arguably the major plan affecting Waiheke amongst the plethora of plans drawn up by Auckland Council and its CCOs (Council Controlled Organisations) during the first three years of the new Auckland Council. Economically, it must be the most beneficial payback from region-wide funding that Waiheke gets for its ever increasing rates.
It is therefore, extremely foolish and monumentally mind-blowing that the new Waiheke Local Board should seek to remove this advocacy from their Draft Annual Plan. The long-term implications for businesses, jobs, families and children don’t bear thinking about.
Deputy Chair, Shirin Brown, stood for election on a platform of supporting local business. Now she informs tourism personnel that Waiheke has more than enough tourists and she doesn’t want any more.
It is in the interests of all Waiheke businesses, workers and families to submit against this ill-conceived and damaging proposal.