The New Zealand Law Society has condemned a proposed law change that would require those charged for murder, serious assault or major drug offences to prove they should be released on bail.
Parliament's Law and Order Select Committee has been told the proposal reverses New Zealand's current bail system and would lead to more people being held in custody at the taxpayer's expense.
"We're talking about a very small number of people who abuse the bail system as a result of the current system that we've got in place," Andrew Butler of the NZ Law Society told the select committee.
"And what you're being asked to do, in the Law Society submission, is to reverse a history that we've had of being pro-liberty."
The Law Society is concerned that if the change became law the legislation would eventually be extended to all offences.