Public consultation is about to begin on the controversial tenure review process.
It allows Crown land to be sold to a leaseholder in return for other land, which is turned into a conservation zone.
Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage said too much has been given to intensive farming, which is destroying the environment.
"Tenure review has seen some land protected but also large swathes, 353,000 hectares, have been privatised and large areas intensively farmed or subdivided."
She said changing the system was about "thinking long-term and the Crown working with leaseholders to achieve sustainable land and water management".
Public comment is being sought over proposed changes to the stewardship of Crown pastoral land, which will close in April.
Ms Sage said there is also a need to work better with iwi to honour Treaty conditions over the land.
"The changes needed to implement a stronger stewardship regime for Crown pastoral land can only be achieved by changing the law, and in partnership with iwi, leaseholders who use the land, and the wider public.
"It's vital we ensure that our high country pastoral leases are managed in the best interests of all New Zealanders, now and into the future."