Former Prime Minister Helen Clark says Kiwi Jihadi Mark Taylor is not the sort of citizen any country wants to have, but the fact remains he is still a New Zealand citizen.

She also said the New Zealand Government had no responsibility in getting him out of the Syrian jail – "he put himself in that position", she told RNZ.

Taylor has dominated New Zealand headlines this week after it was revealed he had quit ISIS, surrendered and been imprisoned in war-torn Syria.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said the Government would make no attempt to get him out of prison.


But, as he only has New Zealand citizenship, the Government cannot revoke it as that would render him stateless.

"We might not like this problem, but he is still our problem," she said on Tuesday.

Clark was singing a similar tune this morning.

When asked about Taylor, she said: "these are not the sort of citizens any country wants".

"But in the end they are citizens and you let the law take its course with respect to the actions that they have taken while they have been with IS," she added.

She said her view was that a Government has a responsibility to its citizens.

"But, of course, citizens should obey the law and those who have done the kinds of things that returning Jihadis have done must expect investigation, likely prosecution and possible, in some cases probable conviction and a jail sentence."

She said those who have gone down the track of terrorism and left their countries have to realise that if they do come home, they were likely to be monitored for the rest of their lives.


"They have made very serious mistakes."

She said the New Zealand Government does not have the responsibility to get Taylor out of the Syrian jail.

"We don't have any consular representation there; he put himself in that position."

But if Taylor finds a way to get to Turkey to get a New Zealand passport, "I don't think there is much option but to give it to him."