Conservation Minister Nick Smith is aiming to establish more marine reserves this year than in any other year.
Dr Smith appeared before Parliament's Environment and Local Government Select Committee on Thursday.
He defended restructuring at the Department of Conservation, saying it has been too inward-looking in the past and operated in silos.
Dr Smith said administration layers have been removed and the number of field staff is growing.
He said priorities for this year include bedding in the changes as well as focussing on specific conservation projects such as increasing the area of marine protection by 35%.
Dr Smith said he also wants DoC to complete more mountain bike trails.