A high-ranking road policing boss says police did not breach policy by continuing a pursuit during which an innocent Auckland courier died in 2009.

Superintendent Paula Rose told the inquest at Auckland Coroner's Court into the death of 17-year-old courier driver Halatau Naitoko that police policy did not suggest they had to stop the pursuit once they knew the identity of gunman Stephen Hohepa McDonald.

Mr Naitoko was shot by police on the northwestern motorway as they were pursuing McDonald, who was on a crime spree on January 23 last year.

Yesterday, former police superintendent Neville Matthews said police should have abandoned the pursuit of McDonald 10 minutes before Mr Naitoko was shot.

Mr Matthews, who was asked by Coroner Gordon Matenga to examine the events following the first inquest sitting in March, said at that point the police criteria, which places public safety over the immediate apprehension of the offender, should have seen the pursuit called off.

Police should have gathered their resources together in an attempt to contain him in another way, Mr Matthews said.

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

He also said that once police knew it was McDonald they were chasing, about eight minutes before the shooting, they could have abandoned the pursuit and considered apprehending him at a later point.

Ms Rose said the police pursuit policy, which was updated in October, was clarified to say the pursuit could be abandoned at this point if the pursuit controller did not think the offender posed a threat to public safety.

"This clarifies that pursuit controllers will expressly consider the immediate threat to the public," she said.

Ms Rose said she considered this was effectively the policy when McDonald was being pursued, but the revised policy now made it clear pursuit would not be abandoned without the controller considering the ramifications of letting the offender remain at large.

Inspector Willy Taylor, the northern communications centre who was in charge of the pursuit of McDonald, yesterday said he did not call the pursuit off as he considered how dangerous it would have been to have had McDonald in the community.

"If I didn't give proper consideration and called the pursuit off I would have failed in my duty. I held real concerns of what he might have been capable of had he been permitted to flee.

"He presented as someone who might well be affected by methamphetamine and I could not assume he would behave rationally."

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

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

McDonald was last year jailed for 13 years on 23 charges.

- NZPA