Chinese to build Auckland hotel - report

  • 08/02/2018

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says he will look into reports up to 200 Chinese workers could fly in to Auckland to help build the Park Hyatt waterfront hotel.

The more than $200 million building project had been scheduled for completion in March next year.

But Chinese-based developer Fu Wah fears construction will be delayed for months because of a shortage of skilled construction workers in New Zealand.

New Zealand general manager Richard Aitken says the company plans to bring in the workers from China to help its 300 local staff already on site, RNZ reported on Thursday.

He said the process of securing short term visas for the workers was already underway, with the first due to arrive next month.

Mr Lees-Galloway said he understood no such bulk visa application for 200 workers had been made to the government yet, but it was possible applications were being made in smaller batches.

He has asked Immigration NZ for a briefing.

"The applications have been coming in 10 at a time so it wasn't necessarily immediately obvious there was a significant issue here but I have asked for a briefing and I'll be getting more details today," he told RNZ.

"I can understand why people are asking questions about why New Zealanders are not able to participate in this work."

He said the previous government had failed to invest in the skills New Zealanders needed to participate in the construction sector.

Mr Aitken said that while local workers had the skills for the hotel project, Fu Wah needed "a number of people for a concentrated period of time and we need them in large numbers".

According to reports, most of the Chinese workers would arrive in June and July and and stay until February next year, RNZ reports.

"That's really why we're looking for this workforce to supplement the local labour force that we have working on the hotel.''

The workers would be paid normal New Zealand market rates, he said.