'I liked him': Duncan Garner's surprise bond with ex-prisoner

Duncan Garner has opened up about a surprise bond he sparked up with an ex-prisoner. 

The host of The AM Show on Wednesday recalled stepping into an elevator in a building on Auckland's Queen St, where an "intimidating" man stood before him. 

"He had a full facial moko but also over that he had a gang moko as well - it was quite intimidating," Garner said, adding that the man "looked like he was from prison, and I was right". 

Differences aside, Garner said he struck up a good rapport with the 50-year-old man, who revealed he had been in prison for 11 years for manslaughter following a high-profile gang death. 

The man told Garner he followed The AM Show, and said after all those years in prison, he wanted to start a new life and get a job. 

"I'd employ him. I tell you what, I liked him," Garner told The AM Show. 

"The man hasn't rehabilitated fully," Garner said, but he "does not want to go back to prison at 50 years old. I would pay him to get him to do something for me."

Prisoners' rights in New Zealand have been hotly debated over the years. The AM Show held a poll on Wednesday morning which found that over 80 percent of respondents don't think prisoners should have the right to vote. 

The AM Show co-host and sportsreader Mark Richardson said the whole point of going to prison is that "you are stuck in a box outside of society". 

"You lose your rights that society gives you - you blew those rights, you do not respect the rights that you are given, and you don't respect the rights of others, so you do not get the right to vote."

The right for prisoners to vote was taken to the Supreme Court late last year by jail-house lawyer Arthur Taylor and three other claimants, arguing that a 2010 law change that stopped prisoners voting is inconsistent with the Bill of Rights. 

While it didn't pass, it was seen as a moral victory for the prisoners with more awareness brought to the issue. Taylor said at the time he would argue the 2010 law change breached the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 

Richardson said while he doesn't support prisoners voting, he said once a prisoner is out, "you're back into society, and I welcome you with open arms". 


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