Election 2023: Chris Hipkins stands by Labour MP Shanan Halbert over housing claims

Labour leader Chris Hipkins is standing by MP Shanan Halbert after an advertising complaint was made over housing claims he made.  

In an advertising flyer from Halbert - who is Northcote MP - he celebrates "1700 new warm, dry homes as part of the Northcote Development".  

But it's now been revealed some of those new homes haven't been built and aren't scheduled to be finished until 2026.  

The Advertising Standards Authority confirmed a complaint has been made about Halbert's advertisement but ruled it wouldn't be taking any further action.  

In the ruling, the chair of the Advertising Standards Authority said the issue the complainant made does not reach the "threshold to breach the relevant Advertising Standards Authority Codes and therefore we will not take any further action".  

"The Chair considered the context, medium and audience of the advertisement, the product or service being advertised and when applicable generally prevailing community standards. The Chair also considered decisions about similar issues or advertising," the ruling said.  

"Under the Advertising Standards Code, political advertisements are not only acceptable but encouraged, as they are an essential and desirable part of the functioning of a democratic society."  

The ruling said complaints about advocacy advertising, such as election advertising, are considered "differently" from complaints about advertising for products and services. 

Kāinga Ora told Newshub 425 homes have been built in the Auckland suburb of Northcote since Labour came into power in 2017 and 317 old homes – 314 of them state houses – have been demolished or removed. 

The agency also said 682 homes are under construction and 612 have yet to start construction.  

When it's added up and you take out the old state houses, it's only a net gain of 1402 houses, not 1700 claimed on Halbert's flyer. 

Hipkins defended Halbert when questioned on AM on Tuesday morning, saying the advertisement doesn't contain any lies.  

He said the advertisement is a mix of homes that have been built, are being built and going to be built under a Labour Government.  

"The flyer also contains a commitment to the second harbour crossing. Of course, we haven't built that yet, but we've set down a timetable for building it. Election campaigns are about a mix of campaigning on what you've done, what you're doing and what you're going to do," he said.  

"I think everybody would expect that our campaign materials will contain a mix of stuff that we are intending to do but have not yet done otherwise it wouldn't be an election campaign." 

When Bridge asked if Halbert has been a "little loose with the truth", Hipkins denied that and said 1700 homes is something Labour is "incredibly proud of".  

"I can provide you with plenty of examples of where the National Party campaigned on demolishing houses and building new houses and they didn't mention the houses that they had demolished in their total numbers," he said.  

"The reality is 1700 new homes will be a significant accomplishment." 

This isn't the first time Halbert has been before the Advertising Standards Authority.  

In 2020, another complaint was lodged about Halbert over a brochure that stated the government had built "over 600 houses" in the Northcote community, when in fact it was 74.

Watch the full interview with Chris Hipkins in the video above. 

This story was amended on September 12 to fix factual errors in the headlines.