The clock started clicking for Andy Foster as soon as Wellington's election results came through.
In a real nail-biter, Foster toppled one-term incumbent Labour-ticket mayor Justin Lester by 62 votes.
With such a narrow margin, a recount is still on the cards.
In the meantime, Foster is testing out policies with the threat of a left block on council mobilising against him.
A deputy mayor is yet to be announced but it's clear the left intend to have the final say, with Sarah Free increasingly looking like the most viable option.
But some around the council table are banking on time to see this left block weaken.
It's understood Andy Foster is bringing a checklist of policies with him to one-on-one meetings with councillors.
That's a big ask for those who are new to the table and yet to be fully briefed on such matters.
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But with a mandate for change, Foster's not wasting any time with doing the numbers.
The picture that's been painted this election is that of frustration at a lack of progress.
Foster will not want to be tarred with the same brush.
He needs quick wins and to identify projects that will be supported.
Unluckily for Foster, out of all the policies on his list, it was floating the idea of selling the council's share in the city's airport that hit the headlines.
There was swift pushback with terms like "asset sales" and "privatisation" being thrown around.
But this idea of asset recycling didn't come out of the blue.
It's an idea clearly mooted in both the council and Wellington Chamber of Commerce chief executives' pre-election reports.
Essentially it means divesting assets and recycling the proceeds to other priorities.
The council has a growing list of projects on its hands like the closed central library and the massive $6.4b Let's Get Wellington Moving transport plan.
These make for a significant financial challenge and asking ratepayers for more and more money just isn't tenable.
Nevertheless, Foster would be on much safer ground starting off on the policy front with something like housing.
He campaigned on changing planning rules and to look at where housing could be intensified, which is more palatable to the left than some of his other ideas.
But a step too far could see him wading into more controversy.
It's understood battle lines are already being drawn over Foster's idea to build almost 100 homes at Happy Valley sportsfield.
When the battle for deputy turns nasty
Across the table, it's understood Diane Calvert and Nicola Young are contenders for the deputy job but if their bids were to ever eventuate, the left would vote them down.
As long as they've got the numbers, that's not an empty threat.
It's a misconception that deputy mayors are appointed by the mayor, and that's that.
It can seem that way because mayors usually do their homework in advance to ensure their choice has the backing of their council.
You only have to look 100km north to Horowhenua to get a taste of just how nasty it can get when not everyone is on the same page about a deputy mayor.
Michael Feyen's appointment of fellow councillor Ross Campbell as Horowhenua's deputy mayor shortly after his election in 2016 was quickly quashed by the rest of the council, which then voted in Wayne Bishop amid shouting from the public gallery.
Put simply, while the mayor has the power to appoint a deputy, the council then has the right to take issue with that and appoint another.
In an extraordinary twist of events Feyen later came back swinging and announced at a council meeting he was changing his deputy back to Campbell.
The spat resulted in the council's acting chief executive and Local Government New Zealand wading in and confirming to media that Bishop remained as deputy and the only way to overturn that was by a council vote.
Foster will be aware of that well-aired shambles.
It would not be a good look for his council to undermine him at the first hurdle and oust his choice of deputy.
He's taking his time in making a decision and for good reason. It also doubles as some cool-off time for those upset by Lester's defeat.
So who then?
It has been argued Foster needs to look to the left for his deputy to get the numbers and build political consensus.
That's because there are three councillors elected on the Green Party ticket and three on Labour's.
Former deputy mayor Jill Day and new councillor Tamatha Paul have strengthened the ranks.
Returning councillors Iona Pannett and Fleur Fitzsimons have been tipped as options from the left for the deputy mayor role.
But now it's increasingly looking like Sarah Free.
Pannett and Fitzsimons are strong personalities who would likely clash with Foster on the regular, and that's not what he needs.
Free on the other hand is seen by some on the left as more pragmatic and a better fit for the role.
But there's something else Free offers and that's the Green Party ticket.
Those on the left could have quite a specific agenda with getting one of their own in the deputy mayor role and that's Let's Get Wellington Moving.
They're desperate to keep the deal Lester negotiated on firm ground and put a lid on any bubbling uncertainty Foster's reign brings.
Foster campaigned on bringing forward a second Mt Victoria tunnel in the project's sequencing and has since confirmed it's one of his top priorities as mayor.
Free will toe the party line and that's leaving the tunnel exactly where it is.
Unlike Lester, who appeared to take a lead on behalf of local government in negotiating the transport deal, Foster will likely have company. Those on the left will want Free to be involved with any transport chats with the Government.
Don't take your friends for granted
There is some doubt the left isn't all its cracked up to be.
Its quick and feisty mobilisation could be seen as reactionary. The loss of Lester would have come as quite a shock.
The left block would have moved swiftly to welcome fresh faces to align with its cause, but there is such a thing as coming on too strong.
It's understood the left isn't going to come out swinging over every issue Foster tables, but if it wants to keep the threat of power play up its sleeve, it needs to maintain its touted majority.
Some around the council table are banking on time to see the left block weaken.
Whether that's time for new councillors to find their feet, or time to move on from the loss of Lester.
In the background to all of this is the tick tock of the clock, with Foster picking up the mantle at a time the patience of Wellingtonians is wearing thin.