Guess what, Phil Goff? When the once and would-be future mayor John Banks said if he was re-elected he would make himself chair of Auckland Transport it was a Good Idea. A decisive move to fix something a lot of people believe is broken. And it's not wacky, either: the transport authority in London is chaired by the mayor.
Did you spot that, Phil? While you're busy promising fiscal prudence, meeting the challenges of today and tomorrow, yadda yadda, voters are asking for more. We want those things, but we also want a mayor who will do something more.
Like: inspire confidence. Demonstrate fresh thinking, introduce real changes we can understand to fix what's broken. And in all that, you've got work to do.
You told your colleagues on council recently you were committed to pushing for more transport funding from Government but, you said, "We will do it in a smart way not simply in a loud way." That was a dig at your rival John Tamihere and it was a silly thing to say.
How have you spent a lifetime in politics without realising that if you're quiet, no one thinks you're doing anything?
You've said you're not going to be populist because "I'm not going to start lying". OK, good, don't lie. But that doesn't mean you can't be bold and inspirational. Maybe you think you're not that guy.
But Phil. You're running a city with a pretty good plan for progress but low confidence in the good that's being achieved. You have to become that guy.
Here are 5 suggestions. An election to-do list.
1 Get out more
Everyone says you work extremely hard, but you're doing the wrong work. Too much time locked in your office reading reports, not enough time out in the communities of Auckland.
Simon Wilson: Goff v Tamihere, the first poll numbers
Simon Wilson's Phil Goff report card: Two years in the job
Simon Wilson: Mischief and mayhem on Auckland's waterfront
Your predecessor Len Brown used to have "The Mayor in the Chair": a regular gig where he went to shopping centres and took people's questions. Well advertised locally, it was a great way to meet ordinary people, remain visible, hear about real concerns and build confidence that council is serving citizens.
You probably don't want to copy Brown. So find your own way to do it.
2 Think bolder
Heard of the Bilbao Effect, Phil? In 1997, Bilbao was an industrial backwater on Spain's north coast. Then it opened an outpost of the Guggenheim Museum: a magnificent building designed by Frank Gehry, shaped like a twisted ball of aluminium, complete with giant Jeff Koons dog covered in flowers out the front.
They had asked for their own Sydney Opera House and that's what they got. More than 20 million visitors, who have generated so much wealth for the city, Bilbao built a new airport, a modern rapid transit system, urban renewal projects and a major culture and leisure centre.
The museum is great, and not just because it's loved by the public, tourists and the critics. It's great because it's transformed the city.
Got something like that for us, Phil? Something transformational? It will have to be really good, because cities are trying to copy the Bilbao Effect all over the world. It will have to be unique to us.
How about that museum of the sea I keep suggesting? Tangata Moana, a celebration of the all cultures and technologies that got us here and make us special, from Kupe to foiling superyachts, and will see us into the future.
We could become the pre-eminent city of the south Pacific – you know the title is up for grabs. But we're not even close to owning it yet.
Or, how about that sunken stadium? A multi-purpose public venue sitting on the seabed, designed and built with technology that resists the impact of climate change? Magnificent.
Make it part of a new downtown waterfront? A 30-year plan for a brilliant, beautiful mix of parks, beaches and cultural endeavour, paid for with commercial and residential development. Even more magnificent.
But hey, you don't need to say yes to these ideas. Come up with your own!
Not sure you can do that? Here's a tip: surround yourself with people who can. Whatever your big idea, make it transformational. Remember Bilbao.
You want us to say, oh yeah, Phil Goff, he's not the city's manager. He's the mayor. He's, wow, he's really leading us forwards.
3 Think change
The CCO model is broken. That's the "council-controlled organisations": agencies that do most of the council's business and are more independent of elected officials than they need to be.
John Tamihere says sack the Auckland Transport board and John Banks says he'll sort out AT himself. And you, Phil? You've called for a CCO review.
Seriously, you're going to hide behind a review? You must know what you'd like to see. Tell us about it. Why let your opponents keep scoring free hits?
The problem with AT is that its delivery failures have been conflated with the policy itself, which is set by council, not AT, and is not bad policy. You've got to separate the two. Champion the policy, and tell us how you'll improve the delivery.
And why don't you insist Ports of Auckland stops building that car storage building on Bledisloe Wharf, at least until the Government's strategy for the ports is declared?
What a perfect way to signal you stand for a better city and will defend us from officials who seem determined to make it worse.
4 Unlock the unlock programme
It's not all bad with the CCOs. One of them, the "urban regeneration" agency Panuku, has 18 "transform" and "unlock" programmes around the city, bringing growth, change and opportunity. From Henderson to Ormiston, Whangaparaoa to Pukekohe, there are good stories to tell about how they're building communities: economically, environmentally, socially and culturally.
Why aren't you telling us those stories, Phil? This is council improving the town centres and the suburbs, doing work that shouldn't make us grumble. Inspire us!
5 Give us a decent downtown
The council has a very good city-centre masterplan, updated and reaffirmed just last month. It includes – or has scope to include – waterfront development, revitalised shopping, greener streets, calmed and reduced traffic, a reorganised inner-city delivery system, an arts festival integrated with other activities, better bus routes and safer spaces for pedestrians, cyclists and scooterists. But will it happen?
The America's Cup and APEC will both be here in 2021. Just enough time, for a bold and determined mayor, to get it done.
Incredibly, though, you've allowed council to treat 2021 not as a deadline but as an impediment. Most of the good ideas are going on hold till afterwards. What a defeatist load of bollocks.
Phil! Wake up! Bang some heads together at AT, the Auckland Design Office, Panuku and the central council administration. You've done it before. Do it again now.
This, by the way, offers a splendid point of difference between you and other candidates. Unless, that is, you plan to continue talking about it but not doing it, which would mean not much difference at all.
Got the message? If you win, it won't be because everyone's happy with how things are. It'll be because voters decide you're on track to deliver something better. So. Convince us.