Police said schools in the area are in lockdown as they search for attacker, who fled after the incident.

Police officers cordon off an area after a shooting incident in a residential neighbourhood in Auckland on June 19, 2020.
Police officers cordon off an area after a shooting incident in a residential neighbourhood in Auckland on June 19, 2020. (AFP)

A New Zealand police officer was killed and another seriously injured on Friday after they were shot during a routine traffic stop, the country's police commissioner said, as officials urgently hunted for the suspect.

Schools and daycare centres near the scene of the incident in Auckland were on lockdown as police searched for the shooter, who also injured a member of the public when fleeing by car.

Local media say a member of the public was also injured while police had earlier stormed a house in West Auckland and arrested two men.

Nothing 'out of the ordinary'

The two officers were unarmed, which is usual procedure in New Zealand, where only specialist police like those at airports or in tactical response teams routinely carry guns.

"At this stage, there is nothing to indicate this job was going to be anything out of the ordinary," Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said at a media briefing in Wellington. He did not provide details on why the car was stopped by the officers.

The New Zealand Herald newspaper reported that three people were taken to the hospital.

The fatally wounded officer was the first in New Zealand, where gun crime remains relatively rare, to be killed in the line of duty in at least a decade.

The attacker fled the scene in a vehicle and police are searching for him.

'Devastating'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the death was devastating.

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

Police Minister Stuart Nash said the officer's death was "an absolute tragedy," The New Zealand Herald said.

New Zealand has tightened gun laws twice since a gunman killed 51 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch last year in the country's worst peace-time mass shooting.

The country's lawmakers on Thursday passed legislation to create a new firearms registry that licence holders will be required to update as they buy or sell guns.

READ MORE: New Zealand tightens gun laws again after mosque terror attack

Source: TRTWorld and agencies