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Deer and possums ravaging the Raukumara Range - Conservation Minister

The Government is echoing iwi calls for urgent pest control on the Raukumara Range, near Gisborne.

Ngati Porou and Te Whanau a Apanui shared the damage deer and possum are inflicting at the Forest and Bird annual conference.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage says there has been no full possum control in the area since 1997.

"The damage that deer and possums are inflicting on the Raukumara Range are really affecting their ability to be kaitiaki (caregiver/guardian) of the Raukumara Range."

Sage says the deer are eating a lot of forest understory, and 1080 aerial operations are vital to protect our native birds and species.

"It's simply not practical or feasible to have trapping networks over the scale of landscape where predator control is needed."

Additionally, the Conservation Minister revealed reform of marine protection legislation is on the agenda.

She says we protect less than 1 percent of our territorial sea, compared with 30 percent on land.

"The legislation dates back to the 1970s and does need reform. There is work starting to happen in that space."

Sage says there's a project underway to safeguard 1200 square kilometres off the Otago and Canterbury coasts.

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