Counting the cost of those cash jobs

Wednesday 13 October 2004

Under-the-table deals are part of the New Zealand way of life. How do savings measure up to the risk of a shoddy job or prosecution? Kristina Greene reports.

By The Landlord

It did not take long for them to decide: the choice was between paying $3000 or well over $30,000. Yet Andrea and Colin Smithson (not their real names) do not consider themselves immoral. Nor do they feel they are making themselves accomplices to fraud.

A well-educated, double-income couple in their late 20s, they are refurbishing their kitchen and do not see why they should pay 10 times the black-market amount just to be legal. This deal, struck with trusted tradespeople and friends, is being completed faster, with lower costs, and to everyone's satisfaction with a couple of bills in an envelope.

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