They asked the CEO to clarify the nature of the future relationship between ATEED and Waiheke in the event of de-amalgamation. Here is the response.
This statement can be attributed to ATEED Chief Executive Brett O’Riley:
ATEED is aware of discussions relating to our position on the proposal for Waiheke to become a self-governing, independent Council. For the record ATEED supports the growth of a vibrant and competitive economy facilitating new money and new jobs for Auckland. As a council controlled organisation we are accountable to Auckland ratepayers so if Waiheke Island became an independent region, ATEED would no longer have the mandate to represent and promote the island.
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.
Under an independent structure ATEED could potentially work with Waiheke, as we do with our neighbouring regions, such as Northland, Thames/Coromandel and Waikato, on projects where both regions would benefit but this would have to be funded by Waiheke’s Council or representative body.
ATEED is the arm of Auckland Council responsible for marketing Auckland’s visitor industry domestically and internationally. At the heart of ATEED’s marketing strategy is the Auckland Visitor Plan, a key plank of which is promotion of the Hauraki Gulf islands including Waiheke.
This Waiheke Local Board, including OW leader John Meeuwsen, made it plain at the outset they do not support our tourism industry. They did this by seeking to remove their advocacy for ATEED’s Visitor Plan from their Local Board Plan.
It was my blog, Tourists not Welcome, that alerted our tourism operators to the consequences of this move by the Board. The resulting pressure from tourism operators forced the Board to retain their advocacy for tourism, albeit reluctantly.
Through a campaign of misinformation, half-truths and inability to compare like with like OW hopes to turn the clock back thirty years. It didn’t work for Nobilangelo, it won’t work for Meeuwsen, but it may distract voters from the main task they face next year. That task is to re-introduce democracy, accountability and transparency into Auckland’s and Waiheke’s governance by ensuring Len Brown, the Terrible Ten Councillors (of which Mike Lee is one) and this prodigal Waiheke Local Board are removed from office.