Labour's urging the Government to keep judge numbers at current levels, after revelations the Justice Ministry's considering cutting 23 of them loose.
Ministry of Justice documents show it's calculated there are 23 district court judges surplus to requirements in upcoming years.
Attorney-General Chris Finlayson says a preliminary draft suggests they be culled through attrition.
Labour's Charles Chauvel says that can't be right, given there's often a year-long wait for court cases to be heard.
"Goodness knows where they got their figures from but it would be completely tragic if the government acted on them and started refusing to appoint new judges or give acting warrants, on the basis of this flimsy analysis."
Mr Chauvel says cutting the number of judges will do nothing to help the backlog of cases before the courts.
"We all like more efficient public services, but the judges are independent for a reason and in a country of four and half million people it should not take a year to get a trial date."
Attorney General Chris Finlayson's telling Charles Chauvel not to jump to conclusions.
"It's nothing more than a preliminary draft. It was based on a number of assumptions and there is more work being done on it."