The Government has announced four courtrooms will close nationally and nine will be used for hearings only, including the Balclutha court.
More than 200 staff will be affected by the court closures - with 100 jobs expected to go, Public Service Association national secretary Richard Wagstaff said.
Courtrooms in Feilding, Upper Hutt, Warkworth and Whataroa will close.
Nine courts, including Balclutha, will be used for hearing only, instead of being open five days a week.
Courts minister Chester Borrows made no mention of how many jobs will go but said the Justice ministry was consulting with staff.
Mr Borrows said Whataroa court, with only 11 sitting hours spread over four days in 2011, is one of the least-used courts in the country. Warkworth had less than 20 full days sitting time over 2011.
Feilding and Upper Hutt courts have been closed since November 2011because of earthquake risk. Nearby Palmerston North and Lower Hutt courts have taken on their work load.
Borrows said the changes are the first for 30 years.
"With many small District Courts sitting empty three or four days a week, moving nine courts to hearing-only courts presents an effective way to ensure local hearings are still available in communities where they are needed," he said.
The Balclutha Court house was highlighted as an earthquake risk last year and cases have been transferred to Gore.
The hearing-only courts also include: Dargaville, Waihi, Te Awamutu, Te Kuiti, Opotiki, Marton, Waipukurau and Oamaru.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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