Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has revealed where $76 million of new funding will be spent over the next four years.

The extra funding, set aside in last year's Budget but detailed today, would see greater protection of priority ecosystems, with work at around three-quarters of 850 top-listed sites around the country.

The proportion of 200 priority freshwater catchments under active management would increase from 2.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent, while the rate of fully managed marine reserves would be lifted from 25 per cent to 41 per cent.

Elsewhere in the space, the funding would go toward developing new marine protected areas, better management of marine species, while an additional six islands would be protected from pest incursions.


On land, the control of Himalayan tahr would aid the recovery of fragile alpine ecosystems, and the Department of Conservation's advocacy work under the Resource Management Act to protect threatened species would be doubled.

"Today's announcement which includes more funding to protect marine reserves, is a chance to highlight the theme of SeaWeek 2019 Tiakina o Tatou Moana – Care for our Seas," Sage said.

"The funding will enable more marine reserve compliance and law enforcement work for seven marine reserves this year and enable two research projects to help better protect our marine areas."

Earlier today, Sage opened a new interactive display on the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium.

"In addition to the new money, work is progressing on developing a new national strategy for biodiversity to help our rich and unique indigenous wildlife and natural landscapes thrive."

More than 4000 species of New Zealand's native plants and wildlife were threatened or at risk of extinction.

The Department of Conservation was working closely with other government agencies, iwi, local councils, industry groups and community organisations, she said.

A discussion document would be released for public submissions later this year.


The announcement comes after National revealed its own conservation priorities last weekend.

They included upping funding for Department of Conservation rangers to help them deal with biosecurity incursions – and also encouraged them to help identify potential opportunities for businesses approved to use the conservation estate.

National further proposed a review of National Park management plans – and creating a new national park in the Catlins.

The party also wanted to establish three new marine reserves – including the long-stalled Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary – and update the Marine Reserves Act.