GIB supply crisis: Government's announcement of incoming plasterboard shipment blasted as 'drop in the ocean'

An incoming shipment of plasterboard is being described as "a drop in the ocean" as New Zealand faces a historic shortage of the essential building product.

A hundred containers of plasterboard are en route to New Zealand in a bid to get the construction sector moving again.

It comes four weeks after a ministerial task force was established to investigate the shortage of GIB - the main brand of plasterboard used here.

Brightbuild director Jennifer Taylor told AM the shipment was only a very small step in the right direction.

"Unfortunately, it's literally a drop in the ocean," she told host Melissa Chan-Green. "Although the numbers sound really impressive… we do need more. 

"It's a great start but what I was noticing… was there was a lack of detail about what's going to happen going forward."

Taylor said the announcement didn't specify whether there would be further shipments.

"Is this… the beginning of the end in one single shipment? Is it… going to come on a weekly basis? How long are these being projected out for until the market comes back to equilibrium?"

Julien Leys, from the New Zealand Building Industry Federation, told AM while it was only a drop in ocean - there was no quick fix.

"We've got our supplies coming through at a critical time," he said. "There's about 20 percent of the market that can't get enough GIB at the moment because it's been largely stockpiled, and we're still in [a] catch-up phase."

ACT Party leader David Seymour said the announcement was disappointing.

"They put out this press release last night because it's been a month of this ministerial task force and they needed to show something," he told AM Early.

"What did the press release say? Well, there's enough GIB coming to New Zealand for 440 houses. Last year there were 50,000 building consents, so it's about enough for three days worth of supply."

Building and Construction Minister Megan Woods said on Wednesday it would still take a couple of months before more plasterboard material was more widely available. But "taskforce members agreed when we met last week that plasterboard constraints appear to be easing and some larger developers have been able to get product into the country", she said.