Revealed: The multi-million price tag required to keep NZ's endangered native species alive

Newshub can reveal the multi-million-dollar price tag for keeping our vulnerable native species alive.

Documents obtained by Newshub show the Government was told 547 species currently have conservation management plans in place and to fully fund them will cost up to $95 million a year.

Extrapolating that for all species that require help, it's estimated to cost up to $696 million per annum.

The documents say the Department of Conservation (DoC) currently spends $36 million on managing threatened, at-risk and conservation-dependent species.

"Probably quite good value for money, it's not as much as I thought it would be to save 4000 species," says Stephen Hartley from Victoria University's School of Biological Sciences.

But those figures are only estimates. DoC says around $163 million is also needed to research more about those at risk.

"There's an awful lot of species we know very little about, they could be slipping towards extinction and we don't even know it," Hartley says.

In the meantime, many are collaborating to prevent that possibility.

"The effort that's put in across Aotearoa, from our partners, mana whenua, sanctuaries, community groups, philanthropists," says DoC's Mark Fitzpatrick.

And experts warn there'll be consequences if there's no investment.

"Species extinction is a one-way ticket. Once a species is gone you can never bring it back," says Hartley.

"Reality is we've got to put in more effort," says Fitzpatrick.

A spokesperson for the Conservation Minister says "the Government is making substantial investments to tackle the biodiversity crisis.

"Any potential funding proposals would need to be considered as part of the Budget process."