Election 2023: Chris Hipkins admits getting public transport info 'wrong' as another untrue Labour attack ad emerges

Labour was caught out again on Thursday for attack ads that aren't true.  

The party claimed National would cut free public transport for disabled Kiwis. But the problem is, there's no free public transport for that group, only half-price for those who have community services cards. National is not planning to scrap that policy at all.  

Labour's Chris Hipkins was checking in on one of the crime hotspots on Thursday - Hamilton.

He was also promising 300 additional police officers on the beat. That's on top of the 1800 Labour promised back in 2017.

"If you also consider the fact we are going to be recruiting extra to keep up with population growth and we are going to be recruiting extra to deal with attrition, it means the police college is going to be very busy," Hipkins said. 

He also pledged a new law to allow police to confiscate vehicles in gang convoys. 

But they didn't rule out it potentially going even further – to any convoy. 

"Large-scale convoys, if they are stopping people going about their daily lives, if police want to use that legislation," said Labour police spokesperson Ginny Andersen.

Hipkins then went from crime to kids, turning down his favourite delicacy, a sausage roll.

Teachers hit him up about teaching ratios and he obliged the request of a storytime. 

But it's the stories Labour's been telling about National that getting them in trouble.

Labour has been attacking the Nats in an ad for cutting free public transport for disabled Kiwis.

The problem is, there is no free public transport pledge.  

Asked if disabled Kiwis got free public transport under his Government, Hipkins replied: "If they have a community services card, yes they do".

Is he sure about that?

"Yes, community services card holders are eligible for free public transport."

However, later on, he said: "I want to correct something I said earlier… They're getting half-priced rather than free public transport. In my answer to your question, I got that wrong."

Hipkins admitted he got it wrong, the ad got it wrong, and Labour also got it wrong last week in a press release.

"Certainly in terms of authorised material we are putting out, whether it's a Facebook post or a press release or advertisement, we need to make sure we're getting our facts right."

He's telling the team to tell the truth.  

"I have made it clear to them, I want them to do a better job."

So here's the truth, the Government funded half-price public transport for community services cardholders in Budget 2022. National is not scrapping that policy.  

"It's more mush and story from Labour," said National leader Christopher Luxon.

When it was suggested to Hipkins that Labour was just spreading misinformation, Hipkins replied: "As I have said, I've set a pretty clear standard."

He denied it was a sign of desperation that the party wasn't telling the truth.

Labour is desperately trying to climb back from the doldrums. A new Freshwater Strategy poll on Thursday had Labour hitting a new low of 26 percent.

Asked if Labour didn't get above 30 percent in the election, would he stand down, Hipkins said: "If that happens, you can ask me the day after the election. "

 He said he was not focused on losing, but on winning.

He's shaky on facts, but solidly backing himself.  

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