Government has sold or demolished nearly 2000 state houses since July 2018

The Government has sold or demolished nearly 2000 state houses since July 2018, Newshub can reveal.

And while Housing Minister Megan Woods continues to trumpet a bonanza state house build, the number of state houses managed by Kāinga Ora - Housing NZ - has actually fallen. 

When Auckland grandmother Helen Brown's daughter moved into her Housing New Zealand home, she was shocked to find it was already occupied by nasty tenants. 

"I saw the stairs and the fleas were actually jumping when we came in the first week - I just saw them on my legs," she told Newshub.

The fleas were everywhere, biting the children. And that was just the beginning - the house is old and cold.

"In the winter, [my grandchildren] locate to my house," Brown told Newshub. "If my daughter doesn't come, the children locate to my house [sic]." 

The family needs a new state house to live in. 

"We take that responsibility seriously, so some of those homes will be the very homes that get demolished and make way for new builds," Dr Woods told Newshub. 

The Government has been shouting the success of its public house build programme from the rooftops, but what it doesn't broadcast so loudly is how many it's sold or bowled. 

Newshub can reveal that since July 2018 there have been 3840 new Kāinga Ora state homes built. It has also purchased and leased some existing houses. But over that same period, Kāinga Ora ended a lease, sold or demolished 1900. 

"What this is doing is allowing us to get the right home in the right place," Dr Woods explained. 

National's housing spokesperson Nicola Willis sees it differently. 

"The truth is at the moment, they're demolishing one for every two they build," Willis told Newshub. "What I'd like to see is them building a heck of a lot faster."

Public housing numbers are rising overall, but the numbers include those from community housing providers - places like the Sallies or the City Mission that also help to house people.

The number of Kāinga Ora houses - Government state houses - actually fell in the final three months of last year from 64,000 to 63,629 - 379 fewer state houses than in September.

Dr Woods says that reflects a lease of Porirua state houses to Ngati Toa to manage, which is part of a particular Treaty relationship. 

The houses are still owned by Kāinga Ora, but managed by the iwi. 

"I reject the notion actually that we're seeing fewer houses that the state's responsible for. I think we're seeing an absolute growth in the numbers."

Willis says the public "should be shocked" by the decrease in the number of state houses. 

"This is a Government that has made huge promises about its commitment to housing but fails to deliver," Willis said. 

And while the politicians squabble, Helen Brown just wants a warm house for her mokopuna.

"It's our duty to protect them - keep them safe," she says. 

It's that much harder if your landlord - the Government - puts you in a cold, old house.

Some state houses are in such a state it's better that we get rid of them. But if the Government is demolishing and selling at the rate they are, they need to be building faster, because the state house waitlist is at 22,500. 

We're spending $1 million bucks a day on motels - and those are the sort of records you don't want to keep breaking.