Haese told InDaily he believed he would seek a second term in office.
Asked whether he would run as a candidate again during an extended interview with InDaily late last year, Haese responded: “Yeah, I think so. Yep.”
But he added a disclaimer: “If I’m delivering and I feel confident that I’m driving the city in the right [direction] I would absolutely consider doing another term.”
“I will do this role as long as I’ve got the energy to do the role.
“You’ve got to have an extraordinary amount of energy to give it the amount of commitment it deserves.”
Discussing his aspirations for the city, Haese said he wanted city-building projects co-funded by the State Government to be “complete or substantially underway” by the end of his term in office.
These include the $12 million city bikeways project, the $15 million facelift for city laneways and the $50 million North Terrace tram extension.
He describes these projects as “important but not game-changing”, whereas the council’s super-fast internet project – “Ten Gigabit City” – would provide the foundation for a nationally competitive Adelaide.
“This Ten Gigabit City project will change everything,” Haese told InDaily.
“When we can go to the market in Australia and say ‘come and set up in Adelaide – we’ve got the fastest data speed in the nation’ […] it makes many of our other projects pale by comparison.
“I think that is truly compelling and truly transformational […] in terms of positioning, branding, image, reputation, startups, entrepreneurs, large corporates, head offices, office vacancy rates, technologists – everything; the whole competitiveness of the city.”
The project was put out to tender in December.
Haese also wants to see faster residential population growth, “well on its way to […] 28,000” residents by the end of 2018.
That goal will be difficult to meet.
Since 2008, just under 600 new residents (net) have moved to the city of Adelaide, on average, each year. At latest estimate, the city of Adelaide was home to just over 23,000 people in 2015.
Haese also wants significant progress on making Adelaide “world’s first carbon neutral city by 2025” by the end of his term.
Since returning from the 2015 United Nations Summit on climate change in Paris in 2015, he has become a passionate advocate for climate change mitigation.
He said Adelaide would become “the leader of sustainability in the southern hemisphere, if not the globe” by achieving carbon neutrality.
However, the Adelaide City Council ostensibly destroyed its chances of making Adelaide carbon neutral by indefinitely shelving any purchase of carbon offsets late last year.
In September, councillors unanimously voted to delay any purchase of carbon offsets until “after all cost-effective and reasonable measures to reduce city emissions have been exhausted”.
Modelling prepared for the State Government shows exhausting emission-reduction measures in the city of Adelaide would take at least 30 years – far too late to start purchasing offsets and meet the 2025 deadline.
When the vote was confirmed, Haese remarked: “If I wasn’t laughing I would be crying”.
But he later said he was comfortable with the decision because of the inclusion of “reasonable” in the wording – and argued delaying offsets until city emissions are reduced would act as a “check and balance” on the council’s green credentials.
Haese said other priorities for the rest of his term included upgrading Chinatown and developing the masterplan for redeveloping the Central Market Arcade.
Some of the commitments Haese made during his 2014 election campaign are yet to surface in office – including converting some city streets to 40km/h zones and developing an “Adelaide card”, or equivalent, to allow ratepayers to get discounts at city carparks and retail stores.
He underwent some high-profile conversions during his first two years as Lord Mayor – in particular, softening his rhetoric concerning Frome Street bikeway, the food trucks industry and Adelaide Fringe venue the Royal Croquet Club.
But, he insisted, “I’d like to see absolutely everything done that I spoke about in 2014 done by the end of 2018”.
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