The vehicle was finally stopped on the Northern Motorway at Mairangi Bay.
The vehicle was finally stopped on the Northern Motorway at Mairangi Bay. Greg Bowker

Man dies after dramatic highway shootout with police

A MAN has died after an exchange of shots with police following a dramatic car chase from Opotiki to Auckland.

Assistant Police Commissioner Allan Boreham said the man's vehicle was stopped when road spikes deflated the front tyres. There was then an exchange of gunshots between him and police, resulting in his death.

The man had not yet been identified.

"That's the focus of the inquiry at this stage. We really need to know who he is so we can understand more about what's taken place. But most importantly, so we can get in touch with the next of kin," Mr Boreham told TV3's Firstline.

He said police were not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident at this stage.

Mr Boreham believed at least one person was hurt in the earlier home invasion but their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

Shots were fired at police in Waikato, on the Southern Motorway and in the Victoria Park tunnel in central Auckland, Inspector Kerry Watson said.

"We set up a myriad of tyre deflation scenes to try to slow the progress of that vehicle," Mr Watson told Radio New Zealand.

"As it was coming into Hamilton out AOS team from Hamilton got in behind it."

The vehicle was finally stopped on the Northern Motorway at Mairangi Bay, Mr Watson said.

The injured man was taken to hospital but died.

Police screened off the scene on the Northern Motorway near Sunset Road on the North Shore and asked motorists heading south into the city to not slow down while passing the scene.

The Auckland motorway was open, with the exception of the northern motorway between Tristram Ave and Constellation Drive in heading north.

Motorists were advised to expect delays.

The New Zealand Transport Agency said that traffic heading into the city was heavy and early morning southbound queues were several kilometres long as far as Oteha Valley.

"Even with the southbound lanes open, it will take some time to clear congestion - particularly with the heavy volume of traffic during the morning peak," NZTA's regional traffic manager Kathryn Musgrave said.

"We ask people to be patient and delays their journeys if possible - we will work as quickly as possible to clear congestion."

The NZTA said it has not been advised by the police when the motorway's northbound lanes would reopen and drivers heading north are asked to use the Northwestern (SH16) and Hobsonville/Upper Harbour (SH18) motorways.

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