A former police superintendent has told an inquest police should have abandoned the pursuit which eventually led to the police motorway shooting of an innocent Auckland courier early last year.

Giving evidence today at the resumed inquest of Halatau Naitoko, Neville Matthews said there were insufficient Armed Offenders Squad staff to carry out a "non-compliant stop" of Stephen Hohepa McDonald, and that there was no alternative plan in case the offender did not stay in his vehicle.

Mr Naitoko, 17, died in January last year when he was hit by a police bullet as officers chased McDonald, who had got out of his car following a pursuit on Auckland's northwestern motorway and was trying to hijack a truck.

The inquest earlier this year said McDonald had been on a crime rampage on January 23, stealing cars, driving recklessly and shooting at the police helicopter and pursuing police behind him.

After he was stopped at a road block on the westbound side of the motorway, he got out of the car and ran into the citybound side, waving his weapon as he tried to get into a truck.

Three AOS officers pursued him. Two aimed shots at him, and one of the shots fired fatally struck Mr Naitoko.

Mr Matthews, who was asked by Coroner Gordon Matenga to examine the events following the first inquest sitting in March, said McDonald in his view was uncontrolled by police during the day and could have taken any action, and the prudent thing would have been for police to abandon the pursuit.

"If it was called off, it would have given police the opportunity to marshal their not inconsiderable resources ... in an attempt to contain whatever McDonald did then," he said.

Mr Matthews said that in compliance with the police pursuit policy, which is that the safety of police and the public was to take precedence over the immediate apprehension of the offender, "there was no option in my view to abandon the pursuit".

"It may not have worked, but it wasn't working anyway," he said.

He added that the possibility of McDonald not staying in his vehicle had not appeared to have been considered in planning, and that it was normal Armed Offenders Squad policy to have more than the five staff members who were there to undertake a non-compliant stop.

He acknowledged to police counsel Aaron Perkins that he recognised his views were challengeable.

- NZPA