A man who set a Napier house alight has been sentenced to four years and four months in prison.

The man, who has name suppression, appeared before Judge Geoff Rea in the Napier District Court on Friday morning.

Defence counsel Antony Willis told the judge that the fire, lit by the man after a domestic argument, had no degree of malice.

Willis compared it to other cases where other individuals had shown "far more pre-meditation".

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Crown prosecutor Fiona Cleary submitted that there was malicious intent.

The house was destroyed and Cleary said reparation had been sought.

Judge Rea described the victim impact statement as "heart wrenching". The fire had put all sorts of people at risk including firefighters, police and nearby residents.

Judge Rea noted that reparation was "unrealistic", and also observed that the man's argument that the fire was not malicious was "nonsense".