The Prime Minister must visit locked-down Auckland.
She might claim that she understands what it's like to be locked down for nearly 11 weeks, but she doesn't.
Few in the decision-making city Wellington actually do.
I finally moved back home to the capital two weeks ago and the thing that's struck me is how little Wellington seems to appreciate the pain Auckland is suffering.
I've had plenty of conversations now with people who work in and around government and few of them seem nearly concerned enough about the Auckland lockdown's length and its effect on people and business.
In my first few days back home especially, I kept asking what all Aucklanders keep asking: When will the lockdown likely lift? Few had answers. Few had really thought it through. Most changed the subject.
Wellingtonians seem more concerned about a smattering of cases leaking across the border and putting them in lockdown too.
A few have even tut-tutted Aucklanders for breaking rules and not doing their bit for the country. It's a sort of victim-blaming. It completely ignores the human reality of spending that much time in one of the world's strictest lockdowns. This is not Sydney or Melbourne or London where the restrictions are softer. Anyone, anywhere would crack under these harsh restrictions for this long.
It also completely ignores the very rational response of giving up when you see the cops go soft on party-goers and unlawful gang gatherings at tangi.
This is not a criticism of Wellingtonians or anyone else outside of Auckland for failing to empathise. Of course they're more interested in their own prospects than the prospects of Aucklanders. How can they possibly understand a 10-week lockdown when they've never experienced it? It's impossible to imagine the gloominess of being locked into one house with one bubble for weeks and weeks when you are eating lunch on Oriental Parade and attending gym classes with your friends.
But that's why the PM must go to Auckland. Being in Wellington for the last 10 weeks means she doesn't understand Auckland's predicament either. That possibly explains why so many of her decisions - from the three-step roadmap to the traffic light system to the constantly shifting vaccine goals - leave Aucklanders frustrated.
She must understand Aucklanders to understand what they actually need to hear.
She must listen to the building resentment towards Wellington's lack of empathy.
She must speak to people like former Spark managing director Simon Moutter and hear him say Aucklanders feel forgotten by people in safe government jobs, who haven't taken pay cuts, probably aren't significant business investors and are "drinking their own kool-aid" about how much payouts like wage subsidies help.
Sure, a day visit won't really give her a true taste of months in lockdown, but it'll do a lot to kill off the perception of abandonment.
The longer Jacinda Ardern stays away, the more that sentiment is left to build.
In truth, she's left it too long already. She's should've gone before National's Judith Collins started calling for her to visit weeks ago, before Act's David Seymour pipped her at the post and before it leaked that she planned to go to Europe in a matter of weeks. She's now allowed the impression to build that she's being embarrassed into doing something she doesn't want to do.
That is a political mistake of her own making.
Her reasoning that she can't afford the five days' isolation required to return to Parliament doesn't wash. She'll be in isolation for longer on her return from Europe. The argument that she might become a super-spreader is ridiculous. Being doubled-jabbed, double-tested and isolated for five days is enough to mitigate that risk.
She's now allowed the suspicion to develop that she simply doesn't want to be seen anywhere near a bad news story. That's an old political trick and one Ardern enjoys employing. When there's good news, wheel out the PM. When there's bad news, wheel out Chris or Grant.
Unfortunately for her, dodging bad news this time means dodging voters who are hurting and feel abandoned. Until she sets foot in Auckland, they are right to feel abandoned. And if they feel like Wellington doesn't understand, I can report from Wellington that they're completely right.