28 Oct 2020

Northland police carry firearms as search for two gunmen continues

5:56 pm on 28 October 2020

Northland police are temporarily carrying firearms as the search continues for two gunmen who shot at an officer.

The police car shot at in Northland on 27 October 2020.

A police officer's car was shot at near Puketona Junction at about 4.13am yesterday. Photo: Supplied / NZ Police

Locals remain on alert as investigators probe possible links to other crimes, and try to work out who the two men are.

The men were last glimpsed wearing masks, emerging from a grey car on a stretch of State Highway 11 about 4.13am yesterday, and firing at a female police officer.

The random attack near Puketona Junction left her shaken but uninjured, and her windscreen peppered with holes.

Far North mayor John Carter said the local community wanted the perpetrators held to account.

"I am aware that there is concern, interest, support and some anger within our community," he said.

While the shooting happened at an intersection south of Kerikeri, the police have been investigating links to other locations across the Far North.

They advised they were carrying firearms as a precaution, and reviewing that decision regularly.

At the heart of the investigation is the possible link to a kidnapping on the same night in Waipapa - a short distance north - involving a grey Nissan Skyline car.

Police said that car was set alight about 20km inland from the shooting scene a half hour after the officer was shot at, while the male victim was found in Matauri Bay.

A number of offenders were involved in the kidnapping, but the police said they had not made any arrests today.

Two dairies in Moerewa and Paihia were also ram raided with stolen cars on Monday night, but the police said there did not appear to be any link to the shooting.

Carter said not knowing where in Northland the two men could be was "part of the worry" for local residents.

"We're a good community up here. We're law-abiding. There's some challenges through welfare and it's concerning people that we have one or two who try and disrupt our way of life up here. It's not acceptable," he said.

Police said the officer who was fired on was being supported, but would not confirm if they were continuing solo patrols.

That was something that concerned Northland MP Matt King, whose son is a police officer.

"That's just what happens with policing. You can be doing a routine stop and it can turn nasty really quickly," he said.

"My son wasn't working that shift and I'm thankful of that 'cause he works in that area and he could have been on and it could have been him. I know the lady involved and she was working on her own and I think that's crazy, police working alone in the middle of the night."

The incident has prompted renewed calls from the Police Association for routine arming of officers, but Matt King would not share his view.

"I'm an ex-policeman, an ex-frontline policeman so you can pretty much gather it from that but the caucus is of the view at the moment that keep the status quo and let the commissioner decide," he said.

Police declined to be interviewed today.

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