The world's biggest construction company has arrived quietly in New Zealand for work worth $375 million.

China Construction New Zealand - part of the giant China State Construction Engineering Corporation - was announced on Friday as having won the $200 million contract to build the Park Hyatt Hotel in Auckland's Wynyard Quarter.

It planned to bid for the $175 million St James apartment tower contract for a new building on Queen St in Auckland's CBD.

Both contracts were with the locally- owned Hawkins Group, which is controlled by the McConnell family headed by David McConnell.


Hawkins is New Zealand's second largest builder behind Fletcher Construction and both the hotel and apartment projects are for clients with Chinese connections.

China Construction NZ has also expressed an interest in the $387.8m four-lane Penlink highway to Gulf Harbour, a scheme that has yet to be approved.

Matt Paterson, Property Council acting chief executive, welcomed China Construction's arrival.

"One of the issues holding back the development and construction market in New Zealand is high prices, so any additional competition we get is good. We do need to make sure competition is also bringing us quality and they're not taking short cuts with materials or labour.

"Construction costs have been high in New Zealand for a long time," Paterson said.

Phil Twyford, Labour's housing spokesman, also welcomed the arrival but with some regrets.

"We need to develop a stronger, more competitive, capable construction sector. In the short term, there's work that needs to be done and overseas firms can play a part in that. But we need to build stronger New Zealand industry," he said.

WATCH: Park Hyatt ground-breaking ceremony:

Watch this supplied video from the ground-breaking ceremony of the $200m Park Hyatt hotel at Auckland's Wynyard Quarter. Prime Minister John Key says there will soon be one million Chinese visitors coming to New Zealand each year.

In 2012, The Economist named CSCEC as the world's biggest builder by revenue, then at US72.6 billion, ahead of China Railway Construction, China Railway Engineering and giant French builder Vinci which in 2003 had been the world's biggest construction company.


Now, CSCEC has revenue of about US$100 billion.

The Economist article said Japanese builders had now disappeared from the world's top 10 builders, overtaken by Chinese construction companies.

Timothy Yang, or Yang Xiangtai, is China Construction New Zealand's managing director.

An artist's impression of the new St James Aparments being built on Auckland's Queen St.
An artist's impression of the new St James Aparments being built on Auckland's Queen St.

Yang questioned PM John Key a Chinese Chamber of Commerce event held last month, where he asked about the length of time it took to get infrastructure built - referring to the Penlink project.

On the weekend at the National Party conference in Christchurch, Key announced a new $1 billion fund to fast-track infrastructure development by councils with high new housing demands.

The councils currently eligible to access the fund for such things as water and roading development are Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Christchurch and Queenstown.

On Friday, Fu Wah New Zealand general manager Richard Aitken announced China Construction and Hawkins had won the contract for the seven-level 29,000sq m 195-room Park Hyatt Auckland, on the old Team New Zealand America's Cup base in the Wynyard Quarter.

A joint statement from Hawkins and China Construction had more details.

"China Construction is one of the world's biggest construction businesses, with an annual construction turnover of around $100 billion USD. It ranks 37 in the current Fortune Global 500. China Construction has a wealth of experience from building landmark projects, including similar luxury hotels around the world," the joint statement said.

The hotel is to be owned by Fu Wah.

A sod-turning ceremony was held in March, featuring Prime Minister Key and Fu Wah chairwoman Chan Lawai.


Interested in 41-level, $175 million 300-unit St James apartment tower, Queen St.
• $200m seven-level 29,000sq m five-star Park Hyatt, Halsey St, Wynyard Quarter. Work due to start soon.
• Expressed an interest in the $387.8m four-lane Penlink highway to Gulf Harbour. Not yet approved.

Where are these China Construction jobs?