An empty newbuild in Napier cost Housing NZ thousands of dollars in security costs after requiring around-the-clock protection.

The house at 25 Constable Crescent, Onekawa, had a guard stationed at the address for all hours of the day between August 8 and August 29 this year at a cost of $20,907, according to documents released to Hawke's Bay Today under the Official Information Act.

It is understood the property was burgled twice while under construction, with thieves taking a heater, stove, rangehood, hot-water cylinder, toilet, hand basin and sensor lighting.

A HNZ spokesperson said bringing in a HSM security guard was a "necessary response" while the property was repaired.

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"We are supplying more housing in Napier because families are in need of homes.

"Vandalism of new homes, while uncommon, has implications on our ability to house families that are in real need of warm and dry housing in Napier."

Housing Minister Phil Twyford declined to comment, stating it was an "operational decision for Housing New Zealand".

A police spokeswoman said properties that hadn't yet been moved into were often targeted by thieves.

She said they hadn't seen a spike in thefts from these sorts of sites in the Hawke's Bay recently.

Police Minister and Napier MP Stuart Nash said the fact HNZ needed a guard was "terrible".

"Here we are building houses for the most vulnerable in our communities and we have got real ratbags out there ripping off the most vulnerable to the point where we need security ... that's disgusting."

Since 2015/16, Housing New Zealand has paid for security to guard 68 properties around the country.

Three homes in Auckland and one in Christchurch required those services for more than a month.

How many HNZ properties have needed security since 2015/16?

Auckland - 43
Far North District - 6
Hawke's Bay - 1
Lower Hutt City - 1
Whangarei District - 17