Today in politics: Friday, September 6

Last updated 05:00 06/09/2013

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Key: New Ross Sea deal needed to break the ice

Prime Minister John Key has confirmed New Zealand is likely to shift its position on protecting Antarctica's Ross Sea.

A joint NZ-US proposal for a 2.3-million-square-kilometre marine sanctuary is set to be scaled back after it was scuttled by Russia during talks in Germany in July.

New talks take place in Tasmania next month.

"This is the second attempt to get change and, if we are going to get change, we are probably going to make some alterations," he said.

Cosgrove looks East but decides to stay put

Labour list MP Clayton Cosgrove has confirmed he decided against throwing his hat into the ring in Christchurch East after Lianne Dalziel resigned to contest the Christchurch mayoralty.

There was speculation Mr Cosgrove would seek the seat after losing Waimakariri, though there was some opposition within the local electorate.

Mr Cosgrove said he had decided Waimakariri remained his priority and he would contest it in 2014.

Government: Act will cool Auckland house market

New legislation enabling the planning process to be streamlined has been dubbed a "game changer" by the Government, claiming it would help cool the Auckland housing market.

The Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill passed its third reading in Parliament yesterday and will come into force this month.

It means that, in defined areas, the consenting process will be streamlined and not be subject to district planning restrictions.

McCully has eye on swiftly evolving Syria situation

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully will brief Opposition MPs on the situation in Syria ahead of any motion in Parliament about military action there.

"I've been on the phone talking extensively to other governments ... and I probably have some impressions there that other parties might be interested in sharing," he said.

With the situation evolving quickly, "we've got to ... keep an eye on what's happening around the world".

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- Fairfax Media

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