Many tradespeople in Christchurch are refusing to bill the Earthquake Commission for repair work on houses damaged by the quake because they say it takes too long to pay them.
Some contractors have taken out loans to stay afloat, saying they are yet to be paid for some jobs done following the quake on 4 September last year.
The Contractors Federation and Master Plumbers say it is common practice for tradespeople to insist on charging homeowners directly and have them apply for reimbursement from EQC themselves.
Plumber Ray Morton says the Earthquake Commission owes him almost $90,000 and can take two to three months to pay.
The EQC says it is investigating its processes but is confident it is paying most contractors within two to three weeks.
Chief executive Ian Simpson says the commission will look at setting up a helpline for tradespeople to call.