The Kiwi dream of owning a house and section for the kids to run around is fading for Ben Grimer and Anna Macky.

Mr Grimer, who works for a bank, and Ms Macky, a paediatric nurse, moved to Auckland from London two years ago to give their baby daughter a Kiwi upbringing.

Last year, the couple sank their life savings into a 1950s, four-bedroom home in Kings Rd, Panmure after carefully checking the zoning provisions in the Unitary Plan before going to auction.

They learned the property was zoned for one house per 200sq m with a two-storey height limit, pretty much in keeping with the single-house, leafy character of the street.

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"We purchased our property with the understanding of how the proposed plan was going to look," Mr Grimer said.

Then just before Christmas, the couple learned the council had proposed to rezone their property to allow for three-storey apartments or townhouses.

"We have been entirely duped by the process. We have got no ability to actually fight it. We can't put in a submission against the changes. I'm really, really upset," Mr Grimer said.

He said the issue was not about intensification per se, but the process.

"We followed what we thought was right," Mr Grimer said, "only to find the council has rewritten the plan.

"Had we known we were going to be upzoned we would have bought somewhere else.

"I didn't move from the UK to have an environment where my daughter, when she goes into the garden, is going to be looking into a three-storey apartment."