Double murderer Scott Watson has been refused parole because he poses a risk to the safety of the community.

Watson appeared before the Parole Board for the first time today.

He is currently serving a life sentence for the 1998 New Year's Day murders of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope in the Marlborough Sounds.

He became eligible for parole recently.

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"The board has declined to release Mr Watson on parole as it considers he remains an undue risk to the safety of the community," a spokesman said.

"The board will see Mr Watson again in 12 months' time."

The full written reasons for the Board's decision will be provided to the Herald at a later date.

The board will not be making any further comment.