A man who shot a police dog before being shot by police in Northland this morning was wanted for firearms and cannabis-related offences.
Both the man and the police dog are stable, District Commander Superintendent Tony Hill told a press conference this afternoon.
The police dog was shot in the head after police confronted the armed man in Tangowahine, a small town around 12km northeast of Dargaville.
The man who shot the dog was then shot three times by officers, Hill said.
Both the man and the dog were taken to Dargaville Hospital in a critical condition before being flown to Auckland in separate helicopters, a St John spokesperson told 1 NEWS.
Police were called at around 9.17am after a "suspicious person" was reported on Tangowahine Valley Road.
At the same time, an off-duty police staff member had recognised the man, who was "wanted on warrants in relation to firearms and cannabis-related offences," Hill said.
Two police units armed themselves as a precaution before approaching the man, who was located near a vehicle, Hill said.
The man then fled on foot over a fence into a paddock, with a police dog handler and another officer gave chase.
The man then turned around and presented a firearm and began shooting at the police dog and in the direction of the police officer.
The officer returned fire, shooting the man three times.
Police then immediately provided first aid while calling for assistance, and specialist police soon arrived and provided further first aid.
The man remains in Auckland City Hospital in a stable condition. The police dog is receiving specialist veterinary treatment in Mt Albert, and is also in a stable condition.
“This was a frightening incident and police are providing all available support to the officer involved, as well as the other police officers present at the scene,” Hill said.
“Our police dogs are a highly valued part of our police whānau and regularly put their lives on the line to protect our community.”
Hill said while it’s hoped the dog is able to make a full recovery, it is “still early stages”.
Police are also working with, and providing support to, the family of the man who was shot, he said.
“Our police officers come to work every day and risk their own safety to keep our community safe, and this is an outcome that nobody wants.
“However, this incident highlights the unpredictable and dangerous nature of policing.
“Our staff must make quick decisions to ensure not only the safety of the wider community, but also their own safety.
“They deserve to go home at the end of the day to their families.”
New Zealand Police Association president Chris Cahill told 1 NEWS while police dogs "are not pets, but it doesn't mean you're not incredibly close to them, and the families as well".
He said the dog handler is likely to be "really upset" following the incident.
"This is his workmate, this is his colleague, and this is his best friend and he'll be really suffering," he said.
"We really hope that the dog pulls through."
Cordons remain in place around the Tangowahine area with a scene examination expected to continue this afternoon.
A firearm has been located at the scene.
Multiple police investigations are now underway and the Independent Police Conduct Authority has been notified.