Pun aside, it would be a shot in the arm for Aucklanders to see Jacinda Ardern back up here to see first-hand the damage that treating this city as a giant MIQ centre has wrought and to give people confidence that there is now a way forward.
Just get in a chopper PM, slap on the PPE and come armed to tell Aucklanders when the restrictions will ease.
You will be applauded for it.
Note the words I am using here — particularly "people". Not "business".
That's something that has been horrendously lost sight of in recent days — as influencers singled out nasty "business" for wanting a clear signal from the Government for when they can open their doors more fully. Then there are those who blithely suggest "business" should simply shut up shop. And that another "business" will take their place in the future.
That heartless attitude is hard to sustain when you actually go on a route march around the central city — as I have done now several times — and talk to people who are considering how long they can keep staff on, continue to draw down on their personal overdrafts or remortgage their homes (not "houses" please — again, that is so depersonalised) so they don't have to join those shuttering up shop across what is still a fairly empty central city.
Cabinet ministers Grant Robertson and Stuart Nash have had several Zoom meetings with Auckland Inc this week. That's business organisation leaders like Heart of the City's Viv Beck, the EMA's Brett O'Riley and BusinessNZ's Kirk Hope, Auckland Business Chamber's Michael Barnett and more.
All of these people have many heartbreaking tales to tell.
Suicides, mental breakdowns, marriages in trouble. Again, it's what happens to stressed people running businesses that are going belly-up. This happened in the farming sector several years back when international dairy prices slumped.
I've had a number of calls myself.
This underscores the angry response some have made to a situation where the short, sharp lockdown is now well into its third month.
What they seek from Ardern's Government can be summed up in one word: hope.
Not the kind of hope that goes with "and a prayer" but that which is based on "hope and a plan". Letting Auckland people whose livelihoods — and those of their families, staffers and the suppliers — require being able to actually do a reasonable quantum of business and know at what point Cabinet will allow them to open their doors more widely to hopefully vaccinated people.
After today's Vaxathon, Ardern and her Cabinet team must be closer to making this call.
For much of this past week, Robertson, the Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield and Health Minister Andrew Little have been preparing the public for just such an announcement.
The rhetoric has changed markedly.
There is now a clear expectation that once New Zealand reaches a certain vaccination threshold, Covid-19 restrictions will be loosened, the virus will become endemic and people who contract it will isolate at home for the main part.
This will be difficult for those people — including some of our key Covid influencers — who would rather have seen Auckland back in an alert level 4 lockdown and the elimination focus continued with rather than a suppression approach.
That is also understandable. People are fearful.
But it has been gratifying to see political party leaders put their hostilities aside and unite to support today's Vaxathon. I am anticipating today's events will result in a massive vaccination uptake nationwide.
It will also create an expectation that Cabinet will soon be in a position to disclose a roadmap — rather like New South Wales has done — which will give us all a timetable for the next moves.
What better place to announce this plan than Auckland rather than from the Beehive?
And what better time than this Monday?
That's what the people whose lives and livelihoods depend on business want to see.
As I have continued my intermittent route marches around the central city, it's been notable how many small retail businesses, coffee shops and hospo places have closed since I last made these treks three weeks ago.
"For lease" signs are up across many outlets in my own CBD neighbourhood, Contractors are busy ripping out shop fittings. Business owners I have spoken with are doubtful that the Government will loosen up in time so they get that pre-Christmas sales bounce from people stocking up on presents, or simply out on the town for some Christmas merriment before the holiday season.
Brutally, the CBD will be dead again after Christmas.
The businesses many of these people operate will not open again until late January, when hopefully corporate Auckland will return to their office blocks to work.
It's long past the stage where serious people will denigrate the Prime Minister for visiting Auckland in alert level 3.
Her advisers will be concerned about the optics of her coming to Auckland when others are prohibited from crossing the provincial border. But if anyone is an essential worker, she is.
In my view, Ardern needs to be more concerned about the optics of not coming.
Get up here PM and spread the hope.