Justice Minister Annette King is alarmed the Legal Services Agency has asked the widow of a man murdered by Graeme Burton has been asked to pay $19,000 for the inquest into his death.
"If the legal aid system is producing this sort of result for victims, it has to be changed urgently," Ms King said.
"I have already spoken to the Secretary for Justice and asked for an urgent report that will examine what changes are needed to ensure victims are treated in a caring and compassionate way."
Karl Kuchenbecker was shot by Burton while quad biking in the Wainuiomata Hills on January 6.
His former partner was involved in a four-day inquest in November and was granted legal aid.
Legal Services Agency manager of legal aid grants Robyn Nicholas told the Dominion Post the $19,000 figure was a theoretical maximum and the true amount would likely be less.
The woman, who is on the domestic purposes benefit to support the couple's two sons, has been encouraged to apply for a writeoff when the case ends and her payments have been suspended for six months to allow this.
She told the newspaper regardless of whether the bill was wiped, it was a shock to be asked to pay it at all.
Burton was shot in the leg during his arrest and received about $40,000 worth of medical care for an amputation and prosthetic leg at the taxpayer's expense.
Mr Kuchenbecker's father Paul said it was astounding victims were being asked to pay while criminals often got a free ride.
"Victims do need to be represented. It's not their fault they're in the bloody inquest," he said.
Lawyer for the family Nikki Pender said it was important to honour the Victims Rights Act.
"It says you're entitled to legal services. It doesn't read you should be entitled to a loan to pay for your legal services."
Ms King said a Select Commitee recently presented the Government with a report on victim's rights.
"The Government is required to respond within three months. Work is already underway to address the recommendations within the report, and this includes work on legal aid for victims of crime.
"I am determined that 2008 will be the year in which victim's rights are properly addressed."