A woman who, as a teenager, murdered a mother-of-three by setting her Pukekohe house alight has been declined parole.
Tonia Ashleigh Bennett was just 16 when she doused a sweatshirt in alcohol and set fire to her ex-boyfriend's home, aware that his mother, Lynette Chapman, was asleep upstairs.
At her sentencing in 2010, Justice Geoffrey Venning said she took away "a mother, partner and daughter" from people who loved her, before handing down life imprisonment.
Bennett has become eligible for parole for the first time after serving a minimum non- parole period of 11 years.
At her Parole Board hearing last week her counsel submitted there was evidence of "significant change" after her participation in the Kimihia and Drug Treatment programme, as it helped her to deal with her aggression and hostility.
It was proposed she be allowed to engage in reintegration activities over the next year.
Parole Board panel convenor Neville Trendle said in the decision Bennett accepted she still needed to work on herself.
"She retained feelings of shame and remorse about her offending."
Bennett was motivated to engage in restorative justice if and when the Chapman family wanted it, he said.
"The board acknowledges the very significant progress Ms Bennett has made since she
came to prison as a 16-year-old," Trendle said.
"It is, in our view, now appropriate for her to participate in reintegration activities at a measured pace, along the general lines that were presented to the board today."
That would involve, in due course, a transfer to the self-care units, to work outside the wire, and ultimately to Release to Work, Trendle said.
"Parole today is declined. Ms Bennett acknowledged that she was not yet ready to be
considered for release."