Phil Goff has won a second term as mayor and it's likely to be his last. Time to make a lasting impact with bold, brave policies that really do, as his easy rhetoric suggests, equip the city for the future?
• Premium - Simon Wilson: Wake up Phil Goff! Here's 5 ways to make Auckland the city it ought to be
• Premium - Simon Wilson: Phil Goff v John Tamihere - the NZ Herald-Newstalk ZB mayoral debate
• Premium - 'We need to learn to share': Cr Penny Hulse says goodbye to council
• Premium - Simon Wilson: If they barge the cars will the dolphins be dead in the water?
Top of his to-do list – as it was top of everyone's complaints list all during the election campaign – is Auckland Transport.
It doesn't matter that it's a council-controlled organisation (CCO) with supposed operational independence from council. We hold the mayor and councillors accountable for the way Auckland Transport goes about its work, and so we should. They spend half our rates. Goff has to find a way to make AT align its promises with its conduct.
No more cuts to bus services would be a good start. Improved consultation, more help for businesses affected by disruption, more progress on cycleways, it would all help. Faster construction periods would make a big difference. And that plan to make the inner city better for shoppers and other pedestrians, by reducing cars? Just get on and do it!
There will never be universal support for AT's programme, but it should be far easier for citizens to love what they do. Coming up later this month: AT's proposals for lower speeds on 700km of Auckland's roads. Managing that will be the first big test of Goff's second term.
Perhaps, if it turns out AT can't rouse itself, Goff could push for reducing it to the status of a delivery agency, with all planning, design and strategic development placed inside the council's central operation.
He's promised a review of all the CCOs, and he should persuade the Government to review the Super City as a whole. It's the 10th anniversary next year: a good time for improvements.
The mayor has to show more leadership on the port and the waterfront. The proposal to barge cars off the wharf is the only waterfront initiative he's put his name to, and it's not a very good one. Now there's serious talk of shifting the whole operation to Whangārei, is he really going to let it all happen around him?
Whatever Goff does, he'll be doing it with a slightly smaller list of reliable supporters on council. The mayor is nothing without a working majority of the 21 governing body votes, at least for his budget and core programme, and the preliminary count suggests he may be able to rely consistently only on 10.
So he'll have to spread the love. Start talking to his colleagues more. Find meaningful roles for some councillors who weren't aligned with him last term, and do it while not alienating those who were.
Tricky, but not too tricky. On the biggest issues there's general agreement: nearly all of them voted for the annual 3.5 per cent rates increases set out in the 10-year plan, and they approved the targeted rates for water and the environment. The vote to declare a climate emergency earlier this year was unanimous.
There is disagreement about a future home for speedway and some other local issues, but disagreements on those issues should not make governing impossible. It won't hurt Goff to learn how to do a little horse trading on policy.
One or two councillors do seem happiest just being grumpy, but most are there because they want to be part of the action. If Goff can harness that, it will be good for council and good for the city.
Councillors Daniel Newman of Manurewa and Fa'anana Efeso Collins of Manukau, for example, both Goff opponents last term, argue the south keeps missing out. How about some big roles for them to address that?
Councillor Desley Simpson of Ōrākei could help. She's an expert at getting the best out of council procedures and officials for her constituents – she showed that last term as a councillor and before that as chairwoman of the Ōrākei Local Board. She could use those skills in a mentoring/facilitation role for councillors and local boards not so adept.
Call it the leafy suburbs doing their bit to share the love.
Will Goff leave a legacy? He's fast-tracking the central interceptor, the big project that will separate stormwater and waste water in isthmus Auckland, preventing the drains from flooding and excrement appearing on the beaches when it rains. It's not a monument but it's a very good legacy.
If he could lead the process of restoring trust and confidence in council, his legacy would be even better. If the south gets the help it needs, better again. And if he can be the mayor who sets in train the reinvention of the downtown waterfront, perhaps with a new museum of the sea, and/or a stadium, he could end up as fondly remembered as Robbie. He should want that.