No need to kill cats, owners should be responsible - Wellington Mayor Justin Lester

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester is refusing to heed calls to banish cats from the city as it tries to go predator free.

The city was awarded $3.27 million in funding to go predator free, with plans to begin in Miramar and eventually remove pests across the city.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has suggested owners could consider not replacing their cats after they die and The AM Show host Duncan Garner says they need to go.

But Mr Lester told The AM Show he wouldn't quite go that far and most owners are being responsible with their pets.

"They keep their cats in at night, they put a bell on and that's satisfactory," he said. "That means the cats have a much reduced rate of catching birds and killing them."

Garner suggested perhaps the owners that aren't responsible are the problem, but Mr Lester said in Wellington the majority keep an eye on their pets.

"No one wants their cat to bring in a dead kākā… you don't want to see that, you don't want to see a [dead] tūī so people take precautions."

Mr Lester said cats shouldn't be the main target when there are other animals roaming Wellington and preying on wildlife.

"They do [kill], that's their nature, but we have to live with that, other things do as well. Humans are probably the worst predators but we're not going to kill humans so let's not be silly about it," he said.

"Let's make sure we can get some balance and we take precautions. We're focussed on getting rid of rats, stoats, weasels, possums."