Auckland cycleways overestimated demand to obtain taxpayer funding, says Auckland Transport report

Auckland Transport may have used exaggerated figures to receive taxpayer dollars for four cycleways in the city, says an internal AT report.

“The cycle demand was overestimated in all the four business cases” for the Quay St, Nelson St, Grafton Gully and Beach Rd cycleways, says an AT report, obtained by the Herald.

The City Centre Cycle Network: Post Implementation Review report looked at the number of cyclist figures used in the business cases to receive funding from the Government’s Urban Cycleways Programme against the actual performance.

The reality is that we are developing a whole-of-city network

Two projects – Nelson St and Grafton Gully – went over budget, performed worse than expected and may not have been economically viable, said the report.

The business case for Nelson St predicted 986 cyclists would use the cycleway daily, but in January last year the count was 333 when the report was written. The latest figures from AT at the end of September this year show 448 cyclists a day using the cycleway.

The divergence between the forecast and actual figures for Grafton Gully were also significant, said the report. The business case forecast 975 cyclists and the January 2017 count was 292.

In the case of Nelson St, the AT report said a 647 figure for cycle trips on Nelson St pre-cycleway came from an “unknown report” and the consultants doing the business case, Beca, “commented the estimate was very high, but ultimately stuck with this estimate”.

A Beca spokeswoman said the 647 figure was provided to Beca to enter into the economic analysis, saying “the use was agreed with our client, Auckland Transport”. She did not say who provided the figure.

The Quay St and Beach Rd cycleways did not have such a big difference between forecast and actual numbers, and Quay St now has more cyclists than forecast in the business case.

The report said possible reasons for the differences included exaggerated data to improve the business cases to give a favourable cost-benefit analysis, inappropriate forecast methodology, cycleways not being up to standard and people not being aware of the facilities.

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Cycling demand was not living up to expectations, said the report, but noted the CBD cycle network was still to be completed.

Kathryn King, Auckland Transport walking, cycling and road safety manager. Photo / Supplied
Kathryn King, Auckland Transport walking, cycling and road safety manager. Photo / Supplied

AT walking, cycling and road safety manager Kathryn King said the report was a “work in progress” document that was never finalised, although the issues it raised had been followed up to improve business processes for the 2018-2021 cycling programme.

She said traffic modelling for the first tranche of cycling projects arrived at cycling numbers that seemed too high in the early years when compared with actual cycle counts.

King said most cycle projects require estimates for a 40-year investment using variables that can be hard to predict into the future.

“We have also observed that as additional parts of the central city network have been completed, we have experienced additional increases. The reality is that we are developing a whole-of-city network,” said King.

Latest figures show 281,000 cycle movements were recorded in September 2018, an increase of 15.5 per cent when compared to September 2017.

When it comes to the 2018-2021 cycling programme, analysis will need to consider both actual and modelled results and explain any differences, she said.

The Grafton Gully Cycleway in Auckland.
The Grafton Gully Cycleway in Auckland.

The New Zealand Transport Agency, which approves taxpayer funding toward council cycleways, said it had not seen the AT report and cannot comment on it.

It provided the Herald with a review of the Urban Cycleways Programme completed in September this year.

“In undertaking this review, the audit and assurance team was informed that Auckland Transport forecast cyclist user numbers were based on cyclist user estimates forecast in 2026,” a spokesman said.

The review of 54 urban cycling projects nationwide said the way cyclist numbers were estimated were considered “acceptable and robust”, including estimating numbers at a future date.

The review said the cost of cycling projects went over budget by 15 per cent on average, saying Auckland’s Lightpath and Nelson St cycleway project shot 71 per cent over budget, from $9.76 million to $16.67m.

Cycleway figures

Quay St:

Business Case forecast: 1060

Count January 2017: 689

Count September 2018: 1111

Nelson St:
Business Case forecast: 986
Count January 2017: 333
Count September 2018: 448

Grafton Gully:
Business Case forecast: 975
Count January 2017: 292
Count September 2018: 375

Beach Rd:
Business Case forecast: 443
Count January 2017: 265
Count September 2018: 318

– The business case and January counts were part of the AT report. The latest counts were provided by AT to the Herald.

NZ herald


How to decor the interior of your house with sheepskin rugs?

Well, sheepskin rug always increases the look of a house to a great extent. Rather, it is a very good choice to decorate the house with such type of rugs. They add both style and warmness to a room. It has been observed that the rugs look equally good with any type of room structure. Most of the rooms use these types of rugs to enhance the beauty of the rooms. The hotels and cottages are also using these rugs in their rooms. 

Tips to decorate the rooms with sheepskin rug:

Now let us follow some tips by which a room can be decorated with these types of rugs. Let’s have a look at some of the essential points.

  • Most of these types of rugs are placed in the living room. You can put them below the chairs and it will provide good comfort to your toes. Even they can be thrown below your favorite chair so that they can give you good comfort to the people.
  • Sheepskin is also suitable for the bedroom. You can also put them just by the side of your bed so that it gives a very cozy look to the entire room.
  • Apart from this, if you want an affordable look, then it is best to put the sheepskin over the bench or chair of the living room.
  • Now a day’s sheepskin cushions are very common. They are mostly observed in various rooms to beautify the whole place. It gives a very warm feeling.
  • Even most of the offices are using such sheepskin on the chairs. There is a good advantage of using such items as they give good comfort and relaxation while working continuously at the office.
  • Your big center table will also get a tempting look if such a sheepskin rug is placed over it. This change will be easily noticed by visitors.
  •  Even such rugs can be used in the kid’s room. They can be placed anywhere in the room. It will add good comfort and warmness to the whole area.

Other ways to decorate the home with sheepskin:

Putting a sheepskin inside the room can give a natural look to the whole place. The most amazing things about this rug are that they can be used in any corner of the room. To increase the beauty of a harmonious interior these rugs can be matched with the color and other items.

  • There are many colors of sheepskin rugs available in the market. One can choose the best one for their rooms.
  • Such rugs can be placed over any type of chairs and stools. It can increase the beauty of such furniture abruptly.
  • Such rugs are also found in various sizes and shapes and this adds a very fashionable look to the rooms.

In short, it can be commented that the sheepskin rug is a very convenient and unique manner to enhance the beauty of any room.  


Steps To Take To Hire A Competent Architect

Before deciding to call on an architect, it’s important to understand his job. An architect is basically a consultant. His job is to design the buildings on paper. But if you are in need of one, then architects North Shore have the experience and skill to meet your needs. Remember that an architect does not construct that building. That part of the job is done by a contractor according to the designs of the architect. So you will have to hire an architect to get the designs of your building before you hire a contractor to build it. Here are some tips to help you hire a competent architect for your project:

Gauge the competence of the architect

An architect will always put forward his best and creative sketches. But your ultimate concern should be to ensure that your building is built to ensure stability, prevent leakages and such. So while choosing an architect to make sure you go for one who has at least a basic understanding of building construction, structural engineering, local building regulations, quality management and of building services like electrical, air conditioning, plumbing and such. Also, ensure that your architect has the proper licenses to operate legally. Don’t hire someone with dodgy credentials. Not every architect will have these skills so make sure to check his previous work.

Be clear with your wants

You should put a lot of thought into what you want. Try to go into details and specify as much as you can. Write out a clean and clear design brief for the architect. This will not only help you clarify your thoughts and make you focus on the littlest of details, but it will also help in communicating with the architect what you need. Make sure to include a list of the spaces you need in the design brief. Also make a brief note on the organization and functioning of the project, no matter the size of the project.

Getting the other consultants

Of course, an architect can’t design a building all by himself so you are also going to need a licensed structural engineer, a landscape designer, a building services engineer and more. An architect needs to have a rudimentary knowledge of all the above professions, but you won’t get an architect who is well versed in all of these. So it’s better to hire the professional and make sure that you have a great building at the end. Many times, the architect himself will hire these additional people and give you a full packaged service. But you can, of course, hire them all independently as well.

Proceeding to the Construction Stage

You will have to decide how it will be supervised from the beginning. This supervision needs to be done by experienced and knowledgeable people. For small projects, the architect himself can do it, but for larger ones hiring a project management consultant will be advisable. If you are hiring the architect to do the supervision, then ask him to include the charge for it in his scope of work.

An architect is a designer who should come with basic knowledge regarding buildings. Talk to people who have worked with him before and also make sure to check his credentials before hiring.


Popular milkshake flavours that we all love

Milkshakes are the go-to drink. If a person loves milk and desserts, then he must love milkshakes. Here is a list of some of the popular recipes of milkshake or thick shakes that we love to have. 

Peanut butter flavour

This is a very popular and tasty flavour of milkshake that we can find at any of the common milkshake brands. The main ingredient used in this milkshake is the peanut butter, as the name suggests. If you talk about the variations related to this flavour, then sometimes bananas are added to create a completely unique flavour. This shake is nothing but the addition of one or two spoons of peanut butter to a chocolate or vanilla flavoured milkshake. Peanut butter can also be used as the base of this milkshake and then chocolate or vanilla essence is added to it.

Mint and chocolate flavour

This is again one of the most popular flavours and most of us like them. This is a classic blend of mint and chocolate. This shake is often known as Grasshopper shake or Thin mint milkshake. The base of this milkshake is basically a mint chocolate ice cream and above that, some chocolate syrup is added. Use of peppermint makes it even tastier. This unique flavour of this milkshake has made it one of the popular and favourite milkshakes of most people.

Double chocolate milkshake

Another milkshake that has got all the hype is the double chocolate milkshake. This milkshake is overloaded with chocolate and is the favourite recipe for people who love chocolate. As the name suggests, this is a milkshake overloaded with chocolate. The basic thing about this milkshake is that more chocolate is added to an already made chocolate shake. This could be made using regular chocolate or dark chocolate could be used in the making of it. Also, this is one of the most simple recipes of a milkshake. You can prepare the base of your own choice and then can add chocolate syrup to that and you are done. Yes! It is that simple. So, this recipe could be made at home and you can even go to your favourite place to have it.

Cookies and cream flavour

The main ingredient used in the making of this shake is cookies and Oreo is considered as the best cookie amongst all. So, most of the brands use it as the key ingredient. The basic idea behind the making of this shake is the mixing of the vanilla ice-cream with the chocolate syrup and cookies. This is so simple to make that you can prepare this at home any time you want. If you love Oreo or any other cookie, for that matter, then go for it and try making at home.

So, these are the popular recipes that every milkshake lover likes and can never say no to them.  The best part about these milkshake recipes is that could be made easily at the home also.


How to choose the right prints for your business?


Printed banners have a good demand in the present world. Most of the advertising agencies are mainly focusing on choosing good prints for the product. However, there are certain criteria or guidelines for choosing the right prints for a business. It should be always kept in mind. Most of the time people get confused while choosing the right prints for the product. There were very limited options during the early days, but now there have been slight changes. People should have appropriate knowledge about choosing the right prints for the project or work.

Identification of printing requirements:

The very first thing, in this case, is that the user should be well aware of the requirement of printing. This is the most essential one. There are some companies who need to color the charts or figures. In such a case the color that should be used must of a different quality. Determine the business first and then start the printing work. That would always be a wise idea. There are mainly two major printers. One is the laser and the other one is the inkjet printer. Both of them have some special identities and features.

The Output required for printing:

At the same time, it should be seen that the print volume is mainly analyzed by the number of printing pages. So from this, the intensity of printer can be easily measured. In fact, one must also have a good watch on the number of rims used in a month. Reports say that normal rims usually contain 500 sheets. So the calculation must be done on the basis of the business requirement.

Search as per the budget:

It is also equally important to see that the print should be chosen as per the budget. Everyone has a specific budget and so the people should have a general calculation on the actual budget.

Easy accessibility:

The prints should be chosen in such a way so that they can be easily accessed by the employees. Opt for the printers that have multiple functions. It is quite relevant in such a case. Even there are relevant videos and tutorials that can also help in an effective manner. If searched properly then one can get proper IT support for any type of issues.

Priority on security part:

Above all this, proper stress should be given on the security portion. It is the primary thing and must never be overlooked in any situation. Most of the problem usually arises due to security issues. So, all attention should be given on this part.

A business can only prosper if the promotion is done in a proper way. Many times most of the business or products do not run for a long time due to lack of promotion. So when there are good ways to promote everyone should make use of the best thing. In today’s world, printed banners are one of the best ways by which products or business can be launched. There is nothing above it.


What are the advantages of childcare?


Childcare or often termed as Daycare is a very vital place for families where both the parents are working. If you have a kid and you are working but there is no one to look after your child then childcare is the best option. It is far better than to keep your little one along with a maid. In fact, childcare is also a viable option before the parents as they are much safe and secure platform for your kid. Apart from this, your kid will also learn some basic things in life.

Some benefits of childcare:

Here are some of the benefits of childcare. Let’s have a short glimpse at it.

  • It has been found that kids aged between 6 months to 4 years have a strong tendency to learning. They can easily learn any type of activity and store it in their memory. Most of the childcare teaches various types of activities that are quite vital for them.
  • Most of the kids who spend a long time at childcare are academically advanced. These childcare centers conduct various types of interactive sessions that are quite beneficial for them.
  • A kid who stays at childcare centers is much more advanced in terms of behavior because they grow the habit of sharing and solving the problem even in a tough environment. They can also adjust to any type of situation very easily.
  • Most of the childcare always provide positive guidance to the kids. They take utmost care of each and every child. If they notice any type of negative attitude among the child, then they try to remove it through a positive approach. It may not be possible at home as most of the parents become restless while handling kids.
  • Maximum childcare provides all the amenities and infrastructure that are required by a child. Sometimes it may not be provided at home by the parents.

Helps your child to grow in a peaceful environment:

Reports have revealed the fact that most of the childcare centers are very advanced and updated in true sense. To be very specific these centers can help your child grow naturally. They will also help the child to develop good imagination power and skills.

  • They conduct various types of outdoor activities through which a child can come very close to nature. Some of the activities include tree plantation, keeping the environment clean, etc. These help to develop a sense of cleanliness and love for nature among a child.
  • Sometimes the kids are taken to various places like a museum or a park where they can see and learn numerous things.  In this context, it can be said that the childcare Whangarei is very popular due to its quality service to the kids.

In short, the emergence of childcare centers or homes have really helped and benefitted parents who were long wandering to keep their little ones in a secured place. This is really a matter of great appreciation.


How is childcare benefits for kids?


People all across the world use child care center services so that they have someone to look after their kid when they are at work. People fail to understand that a child care center has a lot of benefits for the kids which goes unseen very often. Today we have listed down all the ways that the child care services can help the children when their parents are at work. Childcare Tauranga services are one of the reasons why child care centers have become so much popular all across the area.

If you are looking for the benefits of the child care center, then you are in the right place. Here we have listed down all the benefits of child care services that you need to know before you take your child to one.

  • The most important reason why all children should be sent to the childcare center is that this place will help the children behave properly and make them ready for the future. Since both, the parents will be out working these centers will definitely play a very important role in the growth of the child.
  • It has been researched that if children attend daycare they can increase their immune system and also lower the risk of cancer in children. This claim is theoretical and nothing has been proved till now.
  • One thing you need to keep in mind is that if you are sending your child to daycare, then they will definitely become intelligent. As there will be other children around exchanging knowledge will be easy. The children can learn to compete with their friends at child care centers. This helps them to become successful in their life.
  • It has been researched that children who go to child care centers are more likely to get college degrees in the future. The child care center helps the kids to grow their personality and also help them to get prepared for tough situations from a very early age.
  • The child care centers prepare the children in such a way so that they can stay independent for a very early age. In child care centers once the children grow up they are taught to do almost everything that they will need in their day to day life. This learning comes in handy when those children go to college to live on their own.
  • Since daycare is a place where the children play, learn and study with each other it is said that they can build a strong immune system. This immune system prevents children from falling sick on a regular basis.

It is not an easy task for a child to learn all the things that are taught in these child care centers, but with the help of all the friends, the children can learn everything in a short time. The parents are recommended to make sure that they admit their child in a good child care center because it will be affecting the future of the child.


Things To Consider While Buying A Diamond For Your Significant Other

If you are thinking of the ideal way to get diamond rings for your significant other then the first thing you should eliminate is bringing them along. But here are some ways you can make a perfect surprise to bring out the diamond for them:

  • Purchase First: You should purchase the diamond first and then set it into a solitaire presentation if you are planning on proposing. Make it known to the person that they have the option of later choosing on a ring which suits their taste and style. The diamond you have picked up can be reset in a ring of the person’s choice. This will just ensure that you pick up the diamond without having to worry about the perfect ring. Later on, you can mutually decide on a budget and such. This will also make sure that your partner gets a choice in choosing a setting which they would actually like to wear.
  • Get Better Collections: To select the perfect diamond, you need a shop which comes with a wide selection. You can get the widest variety in online stores, but if you want the satisfaction of personally seeing and touching the diamond before you buy it then ensure you get it from a shop which offers that variety.
  • Customize The Ring: There are custom jewelers who would surely love to be able to design a ring which caters to your or your partner’s personal tastes. It would also allow your fiancée to create something original and which they like instead of actually settling in for something which a jewelry store has with it. This can be both a romantic and creative experience.
  • Purchase Separately: Buying the diamond separately will definitely save you some money. If you purchase the diamond from a diamond seller then you will have to pay anywhere from 20% to 40% less than what you would ideally pay at a traditional jewelry store. That savings on that can even pay for the setting later on.
  • Confirm the Warranty: Make sure that you know what the warranty covers exactly besides the standard inspections and cleanings. Make sure you ask if they cover for theft, loss, and damage of any sort. Also, remember that the warranty of a jeweler almost never works as a replacement of insurance. Along with this, many such contracts become void if another such jeweler alters, repairs or even cleans up the item under the agreement.
  • Know Your Obligations: Know that the purpose of some agreements is just to provide value but the ultimate purpose of those is to get your loyalty by essentially preventing other jewelers from working in it. So you should know all your obligations well under the agreement. Most of the time the inspections and cleanings are free and they are required to be to keep the warranty in place. But you should see what they require of you to maintain the warranty.

This diamond first approach ensures that there are more satisfied people who pay less than what they ideally thought they would have to.


How To Hire Reliable Mortgage Brokers?

Hiring a mortgage broker is an easy task which many complicate unnecessarily. Sure, there are precautions to be taken and details to be checked before hiring, but with a little dedication and research, you can land yourself a great broker. To help you along the way, here are some steps you should follow to hire a trustworthy and efficient mortgage broker:

  • Speak to brokers: Speak with brokers either in person or over the telephone. If you want to know where you can get brokers, try searching online. But the problem with online contacts is not that what you really want. So it’s advisable to talk to someone who is completely independent and has access to the complete marketplace. Also, check if he is absolutely fee-free. On the other hand, don’t approach anyone dealing just with a little panel of lenders. They will look for selling you what’s best for their company. Look out for those who have won awards and then check for reviews.
  • Be on the Lookout for charges: A broker is bound to charge at least up to 1 percent. They will also try to use any type of lender commission to try and reduce the fee. Brokers should then offer you access to a better type of deals which you yourself might not be able to get. They should also ideally try to remove as much hassle as they can from the whole application process and give advice on the best structure.
  • Check the fees: Many brokers do offer up their advice absolutely free of charge, but there are others who charge thousands. They generally bundle it up under the label of a type of arrangement fee. These kind of fees are nothing more than just charging you up for the privilege of being able to take out any mortgage. To avoid this, make sure that you have researched the credentials well beforehand. 
  • Ask for the qualifications: All brokers should be regulated and they must have passed their Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) exams. Some brokers could even have Advanced CeMAP. This allows them to give advice on even lifetime mortgages, which are directed towards retired applicants. They can also take up the task of checking files on the regular and conducting annual exams to ensure that they remain compliant. But their knowledge and experience will surely differ a lot depending on their active years in the industry.
  • Check for relevant experience: The whole mortgage market appears really different for first-time buyers than those of from the high earnings bracket who are on the lookout for bigger loans. So you should clearly ask the broker you have hired whether they do have the required experience and skills or not.
  • Take the best deal: An independent broker will surely work fully from your side and not from that if the bank or estate agents. So they should have your best interests at heart. They should also have access to a huge pool of lenders. They should recommend them based on the circumstances rather than the remuneration.

Following these steps or tips will help you find a trusted mortgage broker who will help you out with your unique problems. Always remember that experience, expertise and reliability matters the most.