Key Points:

Police hunting a convicted murderer who has breached his parole found an arsenal, including guns, knives and ammunition, at the Wellington house where he was staying.

They are warning the public to stay clear of Graeme William Burton, 35, who is armed, dangerous and on the run.

He has convictions for murder, burglary and escaping - including an armed prison breakout which sparked a huge manhunt across the Coromandel in 1998 - and is now wanted in connection with a "vicious" assault and the discovery of about a dozen weapons.

The case has sparked outrage at the granting of parole to a convict such as Burton.

When it authorised his release, the parole board said he was not an "undue" threat to the safety of the community.

Burton has been on parole since July after serving 14 years of a life sentence for murder. He has been wanted since December 22 after "failure to report as required".

He eluded police on Wednesday when they responded to a complaint of an assault in an apartment on Tory St in central Wellington, and again yesterday morning when they raided a Tory St house where he had been living.

The armed offenders squad found a Glock pistol, a .22 rifle, two rifles cut down to pistols, ammunition, knives, batons, a Kevlar helmet, a telescopic sight and a crossbow.

"We consider him to be armed and dangerous," said Detective Senior Sergeant Shane Cotter. "He should not be approached, and if anyone sees him, contact police immediately so we can deal with him."

Police believe he has criminal contacts who will help him.

Police allege that Burton and Scott Campbell Elliott went to the Tory St apartment on Wednesday and assaulted the 30-year-old occupant, leaving him with broken bones and bruises. Items were stolen from the apartment.

Police later apprehended Elliott, 29, who appeared in Wellington District Court yesterday charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He was remanded to reappear on January 10, and is likely to face further charges.

Mr Cotter said police had few clues as to Burton's whereabouts, but believed he was still in the Wellington area.

In 1992, Burton killed nightclub lighting technician Paul Neville Anderson by plunging a 10cm knife into him with a force that reportedly lifted the victim off his feet. Burton, then 21, was high on six different drugs at the time.

In 1998, Burton and three other men escaped from Paremoremo prison.

They smuggled in equipment for the prison-break, and had supplies, including guns, alcohol, and clothing, waiting for them.

A manhunt involving 120 armed police found them in Tairua 11 days later.

Burton became eligible for parole in May 2002, but was still considered at high risk of reoffending in 2004.

The parole board rejected his parole application in September 2005 because he had not been on temporary releases to show he could be safely paroled.

But it noted: "In the last two years his conduct has been described as impeccable. He has not been involved with drugs and has had no incidents while in prison. Prison officers spoke of his excellent behaviour in spite of severe provocation always present in a prison context."

The board granted him life parole last June, despite hearing from a relative of Mr Anderson, who referred to Burton's "lack of remorse, his mindset and potential to reoffend, and his belief system".

But the board said Burton had completed a pre-release programme, and a psychologist's assessment supported "carefully managed release under close supervision".

"The efforts made to address his offending and his proposed release plan" meant he was not a threat.

He was released in July under conditions including that he live at a specific address and undertake employment or training, but not in the tattoo business.

National's law and order spokesman, Simon Power, said the decision to parole Burton was ludicrous.

"Given Burton's background, it's impossible to imagine a set of circumstances where parole would be considered at all."