High-profile criminal Arthur Taylor has been recalled to prison after Corrections deemed him an "undue risk to the safety of the community".

Taylor was released from prison on parole in February last year.

Then 62, he had spent more than 40 years in prison for various offending.

After being denied parole 19 times, Taylor finally succeeded in his bid for freedom.

But that was snatched back from him on Friday when he was arrested and taken back behind bars.

A Corrections spokesperson confirmed Taylor had been recalled to prison.

It is understood he is alleged to have breached his parole conditions around where he was living.

"Corrections applied to the New Zealand Parole Board for this person to be recalled to prison on Friday 5 June on the grounds that he posed an undue risk to the safety of the community," a Corrections statement read.

"An interim recall was granted by the New Zealand Parole Board and the man is now in custody.

"The New Zealand Parole Board will determine whether a final recall is granted, which would mean this person remains in prison.

"Public safety is our top priority."

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When an offender is granted parole by the New Zealand Parole Board they are required to comply with any conditions imposed by the board.

The person's compliance with their conditions is monitored by Community Corrections.

One of Taylor's conditions was that he live at an approved address.

After his release he was living in Dunedin, but was permitted to move to Wellington.

He had been living at a property in Whitby but in May Corrections told him he had to move within 24 hours.

He challenged the move in the High Court and Corrections was paying for interim accommodation during the legal process.

Taylor lived in hotels in Porirua and the Wellington CBD.


Emails provided to the Herald by Taylor before his arrest reveal he was trying to find an appropriate place to live in May.

On May 21, the day before Corrections was due to stop funding his accommodation, Taylor's probation officer encouraged him to "canvas options with whānau and friends".

"I am working on finding options you may want to pursue around the Wellington region and hope to provide you with a list soon," he said.

"I have also included a few links below for some options, I believe these have availability currently.

Arthur Taylor. Photo / Dean Purcell
Arthur Taylor. Photo / Dean Purcell

"I would also encourage you to touch base with Work and Income to discuss both emergency housing, as well as the potential to fund short term options if you are not in a position to support this financially."

Taylor asked that Corrections extend the arrangements for the accommodation he was in, saying "there is no way I can secure suitable alternative accommodation before tomorrow morning".

The probation officer said he would look into it but could not guarantee it.

He said there had been an expectation that while the court process was underway Taylor would be seeking his own accommodation.

Four days later, Taylor went back to the probation officer and said he had looked at the suggested options but they either had no vacancies or were "totally unsuitable" for him and the "myriad of legal and other proceedings" he was engaged in.

"I need sufficient space for my computers, files and to be able to work on them separate from my living area," he said.

"Even in prison I was permitted a separate area to do my legal work apart from the cell I occupied."

Taylor - who made a name for himself as a jailhouse lawyer by taking up legal matters for other inmates and mounting various challenges against Corrections - said the lodges and boarding houses were home to ex prisoners and "others involved in the criminal justice system with addiction issues and other problems, who I - and anyone in their right mind - consider seriously disadvantageous to my remaining crime free and continuing with my successful rehabilitation after 15 years in prison".

"I don't look forward to an environment where I would be asked to help these people obtain drugs or get them 'hook-ups'," he said.

"An idiot could foresee numerous problems. My safety plan tells me to avoid exactly the type of situation that Corrections is forcing me into."

Taylor said the other options suggested were either unaffordable, in areas he was not familiar with which was "risky" given he was "high profile" or they would not rent to people out of prison.

"You - and those pulling your strings - need to consider the reality of the situation your direction has placed me in," Taylor said.

"The only realistic option, if you insist on adhering to the direction, is some sort of social housing.

"I request that Corrections approach Housing NZ on my behalf and explain the critical situation - and it is critical - and see what they can do.

"The private market is realistically not an option. Alternatively, Corrections might want to look at purchasing a property to have available for these type of situations and I can rent it from them until able to source my own accommodation."

Taylor then complained to Associate Minister of Housing Kris Faafoi and Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis.

"Until something becomes available Corrections should have to continue to fund my present - or similar - accommodation as they put me in this position without having arranged a suitable alternative to the accommodation they ordered me out of," he said.

A spokesperson for Faafoi said while he understood Taylor's need for help, the Minister could not "intercede" in Work and Income's processes for allocation of emergency housing.

"The best place to start to have this matter resolved is with your probation officer," the spokesperson said.

In an email to the Herald shortly before his arrest, Taylor expressed frustration with the situation which he described as "all very disruptive and unsettling".

"They have still not done the emergency housing assessment despite my having called them again yesterday and this morning and complained about it and requested an urgent change of accommodation," he said.

Taylor will appear before the Parole Board at a later date.

The board has been contacted for comment.

It is understood Taylor is being held at Rimutaka Prison near Wellington.