Mass murderer Raymond Ratima will remain in prison for at least two more years.
Ratima, who has spent 20 years behind bars for the murder of seven people including his three children, is considered one of New Zealand's worst killers.
In a parole board decision released this week, panel convenor Marion Frater said during his time in prison Ratima, now 45, had completed five years of intensive one-to-one counselling with a therapist and a three month intensive drug treatment programme to address his long-standing abuse of substances.
Ratima was keen to work towards a restorative justice meeting between himself and victims from his own whanau as well as other victims as first suggested at his 2008 parole hearing.
This was yet to happen and the board decided that while it could be beneficial, careful psychological work needed to be undertaken beforehand and this was unlikely to be completed within a year.
"We see real value in such a meeting or meetings in assisting Mr Ratima to cope with his emotions and perhaps to build support for his eventual reintegration."
Representatives of two families both submitted letters for Ratima's hearing strongly opposing his release, urging the board to postpone his next hearing for the maximum of three years.
Ratima received a life sentence after murdering seven people, including four children plus an unborn baby, in Masterton in June 1992.
He murdered his sister-in-law Nicola Ferguson, 20, her partner Bevan Tepu, 21, their child Stephen, 3, Ms Ferguson's brother Phillip Ferguson Jnr, 14, and his own sons Piripi, 7, Barney, 5 and Stacey, 2.
- The Dominion Post