I probably speak for many Wellingtonians when I say I'm gutted at what's happening to that city right now.
It's mildly embarrassing to say this, but I love Wellington more than I thought it was possible to love a place. Every weekend is tinged with just a bit of sadness at being forced to live out of the city for work. I miss morning runs around Oriental Bay, watching the fountain in the evening, downloading the thoughts of political tragics over a beer.
The city has a buzz about it that you only find in places where people know they have the power to change a country's course and everyone else knows they have the power to assist or prevent that. It's intoxicating.
Most people you meet in Wellington moved there for work and stayed because it's wonderful. But none of us can kid ourselves any more. Wellington is dying. We got cross with Sir John Key when he said that in 2013, but he was right and we now have to admit it too.
Central city vacant plots lie undeveloped more than four years after the Kaikoura earthquake brought them down, billions of dollars is needed to fix water pipes bursting sewage onto city streets and into the harbour, the city's big traffic plan is back on the drawing board after five years while congestion keeps building to what feels like Auckland's worst levels, big retailers like David Jones announce they're closing their doors.
It's been years since we've had a decent mayor. Dame Kerry Prendergast and Dame Fran Wilde were the last of the good ones. Since then, Wellington's been tortured by a line of disappointments who slipped through the STV voting system that allows second choices to beat first choices: Celia Wade-Brown, Justin Lester, Andy Foster. None of them did anything of value.
But to blame the mayors alone is unfair, because they've been dragged down by their inept councils. Not all councillors are terrible, its just that most of them are. The current lot must surely be the worst yet.
Too many are obsessed by their own ideologies. They're more interested in scoring political points than improving the city we love.
Wellington is so strapped for cash that ratepayers face rises of 13.5 per cent this year and 5.8 per cent on average for a decade, but Fleur Fitzsimons can't tolerate selling the library's office space.
The city's businesses will need tourist dollars to rebuild, but freshman Tamatha Paul wants to obstruct the airport's development because of climate change.
This nonsense, frustratingly, goes on and on. It's widely suspected the left-leaning councillors have formed a bloc and deliberately thwart the mayor's plans. It is infuriating to ratepayers that they prioritise schoolyard behaviour when they know their city is dying.
Three years is a long time to waste on puerile politics while Auckland, Dunedin and Christchurch race ahead in their development.
Andy Foster will probably never be a great mayor. He wasn't a great councillor in the 27 years he warmed seats before accidentally winning the mayoral chains. But he could at least be effective if his councillors put the city first and supported him.
Sarah Free is an example to the rest of them. She's a Green Party councillor who recently demonstrated what compromise looks like.
Despite running on a platform of increasing cycleways, she voted against an extravagant increase in the 10-year cycleways budget because she knew a city leaking under its roads can't afford luxuries. She's been pilloried by core supporters, but rational ratepayers thank her for her leadership.
Some of those councillors might want to spend a bit of time outside of Wellington to see how growing, vibrant cities like Auckland feel. I suspect they've become so used to atrophy that they don't notice it any more.
I know - like many Wellingtonians must know- that it will take decades for the city to recover from the damage this council is inflicting on it in three years. It will take years to repair the pipes, replace the missing buildings, strengthen the quake-struck ones, drill a second Mt Vic tunnel to clear traffic, assure business it is a good city in which to set up shop, find reasons for Kiwis to want to visit the capital again.
Until then, it'll be a city of disappointing councillors, boring public servants and us die-hards who love it enough to hang around in hope. Maybe I'll be one of them, but even I'm starting to wonder.