When George VI ascended the throne, his living nightmare was an awful stammer.

Mayor Len Brown's curse is self-inflicted - a rash promise before his coronation last November to within 100 days unveil 100 projects he would complete.

"We will see things really fly," he promised.

With less than 20 days to go, Mayor Len's immediate problem is not so much getting things airborne, it's struggling to come up with bright ideas to launch.

This week, he and his retinue managed to scrape together a list of just 52. And many of those belonged in the "got up," "brushed my teeth" category.

Claiming credit for setting up various advisory panels required by law is rather cringe-making.

So is "recommending the budget", "monthly town hall meetings", "regular engagement with local boards" and "spatial plan initiative", all nuts-and-bolts functions that were going to happen regardless.

Many of the rest have an air of desperation about them.

What, for instance, is he "saving the Suffrage memorial" from?

While it's great to see him in favour of the Khartoum Place monument staying put, the fact is there's no plan before councillors - or any money set aside - to have it moved.

The recently opened Orakei Basin walkway, No 25 on his "done" list, has been in progress for at least three years, and a contract for No 17, "integrated public transport ticketing", was signed in December 2009.

Of course he's not the first politician to bathe in the glory of tasks initiated by his predecessors. But few are quite as bare-faced as this.

With 48 to go and desperation setting in, what next? No 53: Sun Rises ...

The shame is that all this unnecessary political candyfloss, is obscuring, and cheapening Mr Brown's genuine front-footing on projects such as the CBD underground rail link and other public transport plans.

At the beginning of this week, he invited media on a photo-op train journey from his Papatoetoe home to the CBD to announce five new public transport initiatives.

One was a pledge to more than double the number of Aucklanders using public transport within 10 years, up from 63 million trips now to to 150 million by 2021.

The night of this brave statement, I arrived at my bus stop to find a grumpy crowd of regulars seething about having waited more than 20 minutes for a Link or an 004/005 bus to take them home.

Both services were supposedly running a bus every 10 minutes at that time of night.

The next evening, a bus in North Star livery turned up. Climbing aboard, we were greeted by that damp public urinal smell that makes one nervous about sitting down.

My suggestion to Mr Brown is that before ordering new ferries for Takapuna or musing about the wonders of the new electric train services, he should, as his first priority, sort out the workhorses of Auckland public transport, the buses.

As Josh Arbury in his Auckland transport blog reminds us, 49 million of the trips on Auckland public transport this year will be on buses, and if the mayor wants to hit his 2021 target, that's where the main growth will have to occur.

He also notes how little bus patronage has increased this decade, up from 45 million trips in 2002 to 49 million this year.

Why is that? For me, the biggest turn-off is lack of punctuality.

Waiting for the missing bus is a killer. You can't even fill in the time reading a book for fear that when the bus does appear it will speed past unless you're kerbside, waving your arms like a windmill.

My route must be the shortest and simplest in the book. Up Hobson St from the bottom of town, right into Victoria St East, then straight ahead up College Hill to Herne Bay.

Yet the combined expertise of NZ Bus and assorted local body agencies has, from time immemorial, been unable to provide a regular, reliable timetabled service.

What ordeals customers on more complicated and outlying routes must face I dread to imagine.

So top of my public transport action list would be sorting out the buses.

Auckland ratepayers and taxpayers pay $143 million in public transport subsidies a year. Private bus operators get more than half that. If that isn't the mayor's business, what is?