A former top police negotiator has praised the way officers handled the situation in which a gunman was holed up after four police officers were shot on Wednesday.

Lance Burdett, former national adviser for police negotiators, said the operation had been "textbook stuff" that led to the outcome police always aimed for.

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"It's protect life and property, no matter what they've done and who they are," Mr Burdett said. "I've heard all sorts of stories about the fact that he was Maori and therefore treated differently. No, that's not the case. There's nothing unusual and spectacular about this - you do what you do. It was textbook stuff, to be honest."


Alleged gunman Rhys Warren, 27, requested that local police officer and Maori liaison Warwick Morehu come and speak with him.

That was not uncommon, Mr Burdett said.

"It's common for people to ask for somebody - usually it's a family member. In this case, he obviously knows him because he's asked for the person ...

"Negotiating and crisis intervention is always about rapport-building - always. You can't get away from it. You have to become a friend with that person, to a degree."

Up to 10 officers make up a negotiating team, Mr Burdett said. A main and secondary negotiator would have been dealing with the gunman personally.

It was likely Mr Morehu would have been asked to speak to Warren over the phone - but would not have been allowed to meet him face to face, for the same reason Warren's whanau were not allowed through the cordon.

"They [besieged gunmen] can change in a dime. Some people just switch. It's a very volatile situation."

Mr Burdett said during such a stand-off, a person would go on an emotional rollercoaster. "They hit some self-reflection. Often they go down and have remorse and a lot of guilt. You can't stay angry for a long time. Then the opposite - you end up going down this big dip."