Housing New Zealand says an increasing number of its properties are being targeted by thieves who are stealing copper pipes worth tens of thousands of dollars.
It says repairs resulting from such thefts have cost the corporation more than $1.5 million this financial year.
Housing New Zealand says thieves knocked on doors in a state housing block in Wellington on Thursday and apologised for the noise while stealing copper piping from the centre duct.
The tenants have had to be relocated while the repairs are taking place.
A spokesperson for Housing New Zealand says the ongoing vandalism and theft is directly hurting those most in need.
He is urging state housing tenants to ask for identification if a person claims to be a contractor and to report any suspicious behaviour to the police.
It says the cost of repairing the damage caused on Thursday will likely be more than $85,000.