A man who beat his friend to death then got a taxi to his girlfriend's house has been refused parole at the first attempt.

Jason Karl Blackler, 50, was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment before the High Court at Dunedin in 2018 after a jury found him guilty of the manslaughter of 66-year-old Alan James Fahey.

A challenge to that penalty was rejected by the Court of Appeal last year.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Blackler's first parole hearing last month required him to attend by phone from Invercargill Prison.

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At first the prisoner refused to do so, asking for it to be deferred in favour of a face-to-face meeting, but then attended at the appointed time.

"As it turned out, he spoke to us quite well," panel convener Alan Ritchie said.

That was somewhat in contrast to Blackler's previously belligerent attitude when it came to addressing his criminality, which stretched back to 1985 and incorporated 16 pages of convictions.

"Mr Blackler is said to have mixed compliance and negligible or no effort to deal with his offending causes. Indeed, he is said to have an uncompromising attitude to the sentence plan saying everything reported about him is either a misinterpretation or a lie," Ritchie said.

However, a psychological analysis undertaken in February showed that stance may have "moderated".

Blackler was drinking with Fahey at the victim's Brockville home on October 25, 2016 when the attack occurred.

It was suggested at trial the violence erupted when the victim made a crass comment about the defendant's family but that was unconfirmed.

Fahey suffered a fractured bone in his neck, a split lip from his mouth to his nose, a broken nose, a torn eyelid, as well as extensive bruising on the inner of both eye sockets, cheeks and throat.

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He was found dead on the floor of his lounge the next day.

After the beating, Blackler tried to clean the blood off himself then rang his partner to say he thought he may have killed his best friend.

He suggested burning down the house to cover his tracks then took a taxi to the woman's house.

Blackler's risk of violent and general re-offending was considered to be high, the Parole Board heard, and there were multiple programmes behind bars it was recommended he complete before release.

Ritchie said the prisoner seemed to be motivated to do the rehabilitation.

Blackler will appear again before the board in November.

His sentence end date is October 2023.