Interview: Arthur Taylor

  • 27/02/2016
Interview: Arthur Taylor

It’s the interview the Department of Corrections spent $86,000 trying to stop.

Arthur Taylor has been in prison on and off for 38 years and reckons he’s spent more time in maximum security than any other New Zealander.

He’s taken the Government to court on their smoking ban in prisons and voting rights for prisoners, and won.

He’s is one of the country’s best known offenders, and in his first on screen interview Lisa Owen asks him what is prison really like? How violent is it? Why should prisoners get to vote? What turned him to a life of crime and does he take responsibility for his 152 convictions?

Taylor has a criminal history spanning decades, including a number of high profile escapes. Our reporter Phil Vine took a look at his history of offending and spoke to his sister and biggest cheerleader Joanne. You can read what he makes of it all here.

Since 2011 Taylor has taken more than a dozen civil cases from behind bars, including challenging the former National MP Phil Quinn’s successful 2010 bill to ban all prisoners from voting.

All up it has cost Crown Law almost $500,000 in legal costs and Taylor says taxpayers are "footing the bill for inept incompetence on the part of government agencies".

Despite Taylor taking two successful civil cases against the voting ban it remains in place. We asked political leaders what they thought of it, five years and one election later.

Watch the video for the full interview.