Chinese tradies: Company says not given tender opportunity

8:17 am on 9 February 2018

An Auckland company says it could have provided the workers needed to complete Auckland's Park Hyatt luxury hotel, and was approached, but not given a chance to tender.

The Park Hyatt hotel being built at Auckland's Wynyard Quarter.

The Park Hyatt hotel being built at Auckland's Wynyard Quarter. Photo: RNZ Insight

The developer of the Park Hyatt hotel in Wynard Quarter, Fu Wah, has applied to bring as many as 200 workers over from China to help with the final stages of the project.

It said otherwise it would not have had enough workers to complete the project on time.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said after RNZ broke the story yesterday that he was seeking more information on the applications to the ministry, which he said had not stood out because they had come in 10 at a time.

However an Auckland company, which did not want to be named for fear of losing out on future work, told RNZ they had voiced their interest at the start of the project in 2016.

A staff member said soon after Hawkins and China Construction were appointed as the main contractors, his company was contacted about what the programme of work would be and asked whether they would be able to do it.

"We went back and said 'yes, everything's fine, things are going to be a little bit tight here, things will be fine here', but nothing major that would lead us to believe we'd been crossed off as a potential subcontractor."

He said while it was emphasised that they should lock in subcontractors early because of a busy schedule to meet the deadline, it was never an issue of lack of skills.

"At that point in time we more or less had a year or two to lock in labour resource, to build up the labour teams that we have if necessary. But we heard nothing for a couple of years, in fact we never even heard back in the end on whether we could tender for the main package."

When asked whether they had the staff to do the work now, he said they did.

An artist's impression of the $200 million Park Hyatt on Auckland's waterfront at night.

An artist's impression of the $200 million Park Hyatt on Auckland's waterfront at night. Photo: ar + d / Bossley Architects

Fu Wah's New Zealand Manager Richard Aitken said no companies had been awarded any subcontracts yet.

It would be hard to comment on whether the company would be considered for the work two years later, he said.

Mr Aitken said last year when they scoped out the local market they found there was no company locally that had experience in the fitting out of a hotel to the standard they needed.

"It would have required the fit-out works to be broken into eight separate contracts and then each contract requiring coordination with individual skill sets within each package," he said.

"We would have been faced with the situation that different companies would be fitting out separate levels of guest rooms.

"This would have made it very difficult if not impossible to coordinate and control quality of work, and would of course lead to inefficiencies."

The issues were partly around labour resource, but also the relevant experience to provide a coordinated package in a large and complicated package, Mr Aitken said.

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