Prime Minister John Key said the outage appeared to be more the result of a "freak" occurrence than of any structural vulnerability in Auckland's power system.

Mr Key, whose own home in Parnell was unaffected, said he'd spoken to Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye who'd given an update and briefing to acting Mayor Penny Hulse and also to Energy Minister Simon Bridges who'd been speaking with both Transpower and Vector.

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He downplayed the suggestion the outage suggested Auckland's power infrastructure was overly vulnerable.


"We'll have to have a proper assessment of things over time... there's been a huge upgrade in Transpower's grid and the investment going into the wider Auckland infrastructure. This is literally a freak fire, a very significant fire and so it's had quite a big impact."

Mr Key said there was bound to be some economic impact from the outage.

"It's a trading day for many businesses in Newmarket and the likes and they can't open. What happens as a result of this I don't know, whether ultimately Vector or others have insurance or what sort of financial or other repercussions there are is really for the provider."

With power likely to be out for more than 24 hours for some households he asked Aucklanders "to be extending the hand of friendship to their neighbours particularly if their neighbours are a little more vulnerable or older".