The Police Association is renewing its calls for officers to be fully armed after two unarmed officers overcame a man firing a shotgun at their car.
They have been commended for their bravery after arresting the suspected shooter, outside Waitakere Hospital yesterday.
Their union said the incident showed that firearms locked in police cars will at some stage prove to be too far away to save a life.
Police Association president Greg O'Connor said only a firearm on an officer's hip allowed police to take immediate action.
He said it was only because of extraordinary bravery the offender was distracted and his gun retrieved.
Mr O'Connor said it could have ended very differently, with an officer being shot or someone taken hostage.
He said the Association was calling on all political parties to realise the time has come to fully arm police officers.