Some of the country's most notorious inmates may soon have to wait longer for a parole hearing.
Papers obtained by Radio New Zealand show the maximum parole deferral of three years could become a five-year stand down.
The Parole Board can enforce a postponement when an inmate is making particularly slow progress.
A Justice Ministry paper says consideration could be given to extending the maximum postponement period to five years for those on life sentences.
The Ministry says these tend to be the highest-profile cases where, for some, release on parole is likely to be in the distant future if ever.
Wellington lawyer Tony Ellis says extending the deferral period would be a serious erosion of human rights.