Now we know more than half of the 8000 new state homes Labour claims to have delivered actually add to the national housing stock – the rest were largely bought or leased on the private market.
The Prime Minister often cites Labour's state and transitional house programme and its target of adding 18,000 new public housing places as a fix for the housing crisis.
But figures show that of the 7934 public homes added by the Government, only 3716 are actually "new". The remainder were mainly existing homes purchased or leased on the private market.
Labour would have it that a newly available state home is the same to a struggling family, whether it is freshly built or a repurposed rental from the private sector. And that is true.
Affordable, well-insulated homes benefit us all.
Childhood poverty is increasing in many OECD countries but in New Zealand, children have 1.6 times the poverty rate of the overall population — a concentration higher than for any European countries.
Rising rates of child poverty in New Zealand have been linked to increasing rates in hospital admissions for asthma, pneumonia, rheumatic fever and serious skin infection. Rheumatic fever is an indicator of poor housing and overcrowded conditions.
But moving needy families into properties secured from the private sector effectively robs Peter to pay Paul. It takes prospective first homes from couples and young families, consigning them to longer periods in rental anguish.
National Party housing spokeswoman Nicola Willis, who unearthed the figures by putting Written Parliamentary Questions to Housing Minister Megan Woods, says the Government was "pumping up" figures by including pre-existing houses. Woods has countered by pointing out the previous the National Government presided over a net reduction of 1500 state houses.
Again, this is all true, but is doing nothing to address the problem.
One thing Labour has achieved on social housing during this term and the previous one, is showing how hard it is to increase stock.
Since taking office, the current Government has embarked on a state-house build programme using Kāinga Ora and Community Housing Providers in an attempt to deliver thousands more. Its current target is to add 18,000 new public and transitional housing places between 2017 and 2024.
The Government added 4980 new-build places through Kāinga Ora as of April, but most of those simply replace 3028 sold, leased or demolished homes. Kāinga Ora added to the numbers by purchasing 1165 homes from the private market and leasing 595.
Community housing providers delivered 5124 new state homes as of April, two-thirds of the total number of state homes. But only 1009 of those homes are actually "new". Most were leased or purchased from the private market for use as public housing.
Changing ownership papers on a property is fixing little, if anything, just as changing the criteria to qualify for a state house reduces a waiting list.
Stepping up construction of affordable homes, while tackling the drivers that send families into entrenched poverty, are the only real solutions.
It's long past time New Zealand got past its preoccupation with trading properties with each other and achieving so little for those with so much need.