One of New Zealand's most prolific criminals who has spent almost 40 years in prison has again been denied parole for the 19th time.

Arthur Taylor is serving 17 and a half years for charges of explosives, firearms, kidnapping and conspiracy to supply methamphetamine, among other charges.

There are four years remaining on his sentence, which would end in June 2022.

The 61-year-old claimed he had changed, so much he said he was ready to be released, a document detailing his parole hearing has revealed.

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His last parole hearing in March of 2017 acknowledged "his successful transition to a low/medium security unit" and routine structure provided by onging legal work.

But that was not enough, and he was declined parole becasue of his "high risk of general offending and moderate risk of violent reoffending".

Since then the board had noted several "significant developments" including on 12 October 2017, Taylor's security classification was reduced to low.

"On 20 December 2017, he was moved, against his will, to Waikeria Prison, where he has been housed in a segregated unit and, by all accounts, has settled well."

The Board needed to be satisfied that the "new me" he claimed to be was an enduring persona, the document said.

Taylor is currently serving his sentence in Waikeria Prison. Pictured is the East Wing High Security unit. Photo / Michael Craig
Taylor is currently serving his sentence in Waikeria Prison. Pictured is the East Wing High Security unit. Photo / Michael Craig

Taylor disputed he needed to spend more time in prison engaged in recommended activities.

"Let's be realistic. I'm 61 years old, what am I going to do? I'm very well-known, as your honour and I'm sure the rest of the Board will accept. I've spent an enormous amount of effort cultivating and instilling a pro-social reputation, shall we say, and that's where my whole life's going to be. What do you think I'm going to do?

"What would be the worst I might do, and it would be very unlikely at my age and being so well-known and having invested enormous energy into the image I've created. What would it be?," Taylor said.

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But Taylor had "fooled many people before" and the board needed to be sure this new persona could "in fact, deal appropriately with the challenges that will surely arise on release", the document said.

Taylor's first charge dated back to 1972 where he appeared in the Youth Court on a forgery charge, since then he has spent 38 years of those 45 years in prison.

Taylor became infamous in 1998 after he escaping from the maximum security prison at Paremoremo north of Auckland.

He and three others made their way to the Coromandel, where they hid in luxury holiday homes and went "bush" in a bid to evade authorities.

In recent years he attracted attention for being a self-proclaimed "jailhouse lawyer", where he challenged the Department of Corrections.

He questioned the legalities of the prison smoking ban and inmates' voting rights.

The next parole hearing in August 2019 required an updated psychological assessment report, together with an updated release plan, with specific accommodation details.