National MP Mark Mitchell reads emotional tribute to Constable Matthew Hunt

National Party MP Mark Mitchell gave a moving tribute in Parliament to slain police officer Constable Matthew Hunt who was shot dead during a routine traffic stop on Friday.

Mitchell is a former police officer and knows Hunt's family personally. He said he spent Friday evening with Hunt's friends and colleagues as they supported each other and talked through the tragedy.

"The stories and memories of Matt had a common theme, he was a deeply kind young man. No one could recount a time where Matt had a bad word about anyone.

"He is much loved by his police family and our community."

He shared a story when Hunt was once threatened with a knife and could've justifiably used force to restrain the offender, but instead he asked them to put down the knife by using his words and calm manner.

Mitchell also read out an excerpt from Hunt's mum Diane where she thanked the police who have provided "absolutely amazing support".

"Everyone who knew Matthew knew him to be a selfless man of huge integrity. He loved serving the community and protecting his fellow New Zealanders. My heart is crying out that this was so unnecessary and tragic.

"My beautiful boy, 28 years young, will never have another birthday."

Mitchell finished by giving his own message to Hunt.

"Matt, you aren't here to put your strong arms around your mum or your sister but know that your police family and community are putting our strong arms around them for you."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also gave a tribute to Hunt.

"Matt's death has moved people the length of this country. Matt indeed had a star quality, a star that was taken too soon.

"To lose a police officer is to lose someone working for all of us, but also a family member, someone's loved one and a friend."

She also spoke about the plaques inside Parliament's debating chamber that commemorate New Zealand's military and peacekeeping services, and said they tell a story of people who've died while serving the country.

"Twenty-eight-year-old Constable Matthew Dennis Hunt was also killed serving New Zealand."

NZ First leader Winston Peters said Hunt's death is a "sobering" reminder of the sacrifice police officers make every day.

He added Hunt paid "the ultimate price for the cowardly actions of a criminal", who he wants imprisoned for the longest time the law allows.

"Fellow colleagues, police lives matter. May he rest in peace."

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said it's a "heartbreaking reminder" a police officer's life could be taken at any moment.

"Police officers have a right to go home to their families, just like everybody else. Mr Speaker, few of us here will ever match the sacrifice Constable Hunt has made, but we can match his commitment to making New Zealand a better place."

He also said the thoughts of New Zealanders were with Hunt's mum and sister.

"We thank you for the service of your son and your brother."

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