Workers coming to Auckland to build the City Rail Link could be housed on cruise ships moored in the harbour, according to a businessman involved in bidding for part of the project.

John Dalzell, the New Zealand businessman representing a Chinese joint venture bid to build part of the CRL, said the idea was a possibility but he emphasised nothing had been decided.

Dalzell, managing director of Silk Road Management and the immediate past chief executive of Auckland Council-owned land developer and investor Panuku, said the proposal was simply one solution that had been brought to him, but no tenders had been won yet for the part of the job the joint venture hoped to be involved in.

"It's an option, not a solution. It's early days yet," he said.

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"I'm representing a joint venture out of China - international contractors who design, construct and install and we are part of the various parties looking at C7 and C3 of the CRL," Dalzell said.

Carol Greensmith, CRL project spokesperson, said Auckland Transport had nothing to do with the accommodation of workers for the big project.

"We will have more information on workforce numbers next month but accommodation is not something we're looking at," she said, emphasising that the major CRL contract would not be let until next year.

"We have no idea who is going to win it," she said, adding that workers might come from Auckland.

Dalzell said housing workers on cruise ships had been used in parts of Australia "particularly for mining and oil exploration".

Dalzell said such a scheme would not be appropriate for all workers, particularly those with families and those here for a longer term.

"There will be some here two to three years and it's a question of integrating them into the community."

Auckland Transport says the CRL is estimated to take five-and-a-half years to build.

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Dalzell said however workers were accommodated, thought needed to be put into innovative solutions.

"It needs further thought and investigation and a lot of discussion. If you have a big number [of workers], that's probably the most significant advantage. We need to receive these ideas, scope them out and then figure out whether they do provide a solution," he said.

John Dalzell, representing a Chinese-based business bidding for part of CRL.
John Dalzell, representing a Chinese-based business bidding for part of CRL.

Auckland Transport's document on the 3.45km twin tunnel underground rail link project says C7 is systems integration, testing and commissioning. C3 is delivering stations and tunnels.

See: Auckland Transport's CRL call here: