Auckland CBD shooting: Chris Hipkins praises 'heroic' police who 'ran into fire'

The Prime Minister has thanked the "brave" members of the New Zealand Police who "ran into fire" from the Auckland CBD shooter.

Two civilians were killed by a shooter at a construction site in lower Queen Street, Auckland, on Thursday morning. Police responded as the man made his way through the site shooting a pump action shotgun, eventually holding out in an elevator shaft on the upper levels of the building. After further shots from the man, he was found dead by police.

Chris Hipkins was on his way to Hamilton for a Government announcement when reports of the shooting first began to emerge. He personally made the decision to head back to the Beehive for a briefing on the unfolding situation. 

Speaking to reporters after his briefing, the Prime Minister confirmed the deaths and said he was aware of six others had been injured, including members of the police. 

"I want to thank the brave men and women of the New Zealand Police," Hipkins said. 

"Police who ran into fire from the gunman straight into harm’s way in order to save the lives of other. These kinds of situations move fast and the actions of those who risk their lives to save others are nothing short of heroic.

"I also want to acknowledge ambulance first responders who were there quickly on the scene this morning."

Hipkins said that his first reaction to the situation was one of "concern for anybody who was at risk".

"I know from my work with them as Minister of Police that when these things happen, the entire blue whanau feel this and in any incident like this where police are in harm's way and where any police may have been injured, obviously that is a huge concern, and that is something that all New Zealanders will feel. 

"We rely on our police, our frontline police, to put themselves in harm's way to keep us safe, and when any incident like this happens, I think that we will all feel that and we will all send our love and support to the New Zealand police, who are doing an amazing job."

He said any situation where innocent people have lost their lives "should upset political leaders and should upset New Zealanders".

Hipkins said the police operation was still ongoing and he had limited information he could provide about the offender. 

He couldn't say if the police killed him, whether he was a worker at the construction site, or what his motivation may have been. But he said current information suggested there was no political or ideological reason for the attack.

There is also no wider national security threat, with the Prime Minister wanting to reassure New Zealanders as well others in the country for the FIFA's Women's World Cup that these were the actions of an individual and no one else was being sought. 

The FIFA events are expected to go ahead as scheduled, but there will be an increased police presence around Auckland for reassurance.

Hipkins will travel to Auckland later in the day to join Police Commissioner Andrew Coster at the scene and provide any support he can.