A suspicious fire in an untenanted Housing New Zealand (HNZ) house in the Hastings suburb of Mahora has been blamed on the Government agency's poor management.
Kauri St neighbours Evelyne Dewhurst and Kohi Kaui both said HNZ had been negligent in its management of the two-storeyed units that sat empty after the tenants were evicted.
Hastings station officer Bruce Botherway said the fire, on Saturday at 10.44pm in the kitchen area of the unit, was not the result of cooking.
Ms Kaui said quick action from the Fire Service saved the block of units from being destroyed - on Saturday night gale-force winds buffeted Hawke's Bay.
Ms Dewhurst said an upstairs window was blown off its hinges in the burning unit.
She said she was forced to live in Kauri St after another suspicious fire forced her to move from her previous home.
"I am very worried about the fire, but I am more worried about keeping the children safe because of the people coming down here doing the damage," she said.
"The teenagers break the locks and destroy the place. I can't say anything to them because then my kids cop it."
Ms Kaui said the four open units attracted people from outside the neighbourhood to Kauri St.
"It's the older ones who create the mischief," she said.
"HNZ do nothing - they don't care about the place."
They both said HNZ's local housing policy was creating two problems - attracting criminals to their street and creating homelessness.
"John Key needs a boot up the bum," Ms Dewhurst said.
Mr Botherway said he was worried about the potential for another suspicious fire on the property.
A HNZ spokesperson said it had a number of mechanisms to prevent and reduce vandalism on its 69,000 New Zealand properties.
"This includes working closely with police and using a range of security and surveillance systems.
"We also encourage the public to call the police if they see any suspicious behaviour relating to our properties. Unfortunately, despite these efforts vandalism does sometimes occur, in some cases it is incredibly hard to stop someone intent on causing damage. We also encourage any neighbouring residents to let us know if they have any concerns."