The Kiwi jihadi being held in a Syrian prison has told a reporter that if he returns to New Zealand, he is interested in setting up a medicinal cannabis company.

Mark Taylor also said he feels as if the New Zealand Government had stabbed him in the back.

Campbell MacDiarmid, a freelance journalist who spoke to Taylor recently, said although New Zealand would not be Taylor's first choice of countries to live in, he had thought about life here in the future.

"He said he was interested in starting a business and he had heard there was going to be a referendum on cannabis and he was interested in starting a medicinal cannabis company of some kind," MacDiarmid told RNZ.

Advertisement

If the legalisation of medicinal cannabis didn't occur through the referendum, MacDiarmid said Taylor was thinking of running a café.

Taylor told MacDiarmid that he felt "stabbed in the back" by the Government because, apparently, he has been in touch with New Zealand intelligence which he said had urged him to leave Isis.

"One of the first things he asked me when I introduced myself as a New Zealand journalist was 'what's the New Zealand Government saying about me?'"

Mark Taylor says he feels as if the Government has stabbed him in the back. Photo / Supplied
Mark Taylor says he feels as if the Government has stabbed him in the back. Photo / Supplied

MacDiarmid told Taylor what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters had said about him.

Ardern yesterday described Taylor as "our problem… we might not like this problem, but he is still our problem".

Peters went further and said he had no sympathy for the man.

"For the simple reason he didn't give a rats about the people of this country or our rights and freedoms."

MacDiarmid said Taylor was quite surprised to hear this.

Advertisement

"I don't think [Taylor's] quite fully able to understand the magnitude of the situation in which he found himself."

Meanwhile, counter-terrorism expert David Mallett told Newstalk ZB there would be little to no long-term risk if Taylor was allowed to return to New Zealand.

"I've done some research...looking at hundreds of returnees from jihadi groups and it turns out there is no long-term threats of sleeper cells, if someone is going to try a terrorist attack at home, they do it within the first few months or not at all.

"So we need to target law enforcement and perhaps rehabilitation services into a short term problem."