Christmas warning: COVID-19 delays could see shortage of popular toys in NZ stores

Kiwis could be struggling to get their hands on some popular toys before Christmas, toy companies have warned.

It comes after COVID-19 restrictions slowed down toy production and shipping to New Zealand.

"When China first got COVID, they shut factories, so we didn't get any production coming out of China for a long time," Planet Fun CEO Jeremy Kirk-Smith told The Project on Wednesday.

"Then, of course, New Zealand went into shut down in March and April so we didn't want the stock - we were trying to push it away."

Kirk-Smith said demand in toys worldwide has been much higher than ever before.

"I think because people are nesting - when you're sitting at home and not going on holidays, you're not going overseas, you tend to actually end up buying more for your children and entertaining at home."

Toy companies are facing some major delays in the shipping process.

"This is actually a pillow that turns into a sleeping bag. So again, we've run out of stock - this won't arrive now until after Christmas," Kirk-Smith said.

"A lot of the shipping countries pulled the ships off the route coming down to New Zealand and Australia," he explained.

"So there were a lot fewer ships to get our stock onto, so that was difficult."

But Toyworld Glenfield owner Chris Gray says there's still hope - just organise your Christmas shopping earlier.

"My advice for children is to make Santa a list and then get mum and dad to come down here real quick because we can't guarantee we've got them."