A Justice Ministry proposal to slash jobs has been condemned by the Public Service Association.

Staff have been sent a restructuring paper outlining a proposal to cut 88 jobs within the courts and create 51 new positions.

But association national secretary Richard Wagstaff said cutting positions at the ministry would be a crazy move when courts already had a backlog of outstanding cases.

He says PSA members were surprised at the extent of what was proposed and doubted that the courts could continue to meet demand without any cuts.

The ministry needed more staff members, not fewer and the union would oppose the proposal.

A ministry spokesman said no final decisions had been made, and no frontline staff would be lost.

A number of the 88 positions were already vacant and the ministry was keen to retain staff whose jobs were disestablished.

Staff have a fortnight to comment on the proposal.