The political debate on housing density has been settled at a national level, but some worry about what this could mean for the character of New Zealand's biggest cities.
The Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act (otherwise known as the Housing Enabling Act) went through Parliament last December with support from National, Labour, the Greens and Te Pāti Māori.
"The Housing Enabling Act essentially says that councils have to set aside their current residential zoning requirements and allow for housing everywhere, where it's residential to be up to three storeys high – and that includes subdivided land as well," NZ Herald senior writer Simon Wilson tells the Front Page podcast.
Under the amended Act, councils are also allowed to set rules on how this should work in practice.
"Two big things councils have to set are qualifying matters, which could see the new rules about going up three storeys could be set aside," says Wilson.
Auckland Council has sparked fierce debate because it wants to declare "special character" homes a qualifying matter.
Wilson says it is important to note here that "special character" is not the same as a heritage home.
"Heritage is protected by law in New Zealand – and heritage buildings and heritage precincts are not threatened in any way by this new Act," says Wilson.
"Special character is a way of saying: 'Well, this house might not have the full definition of heritage that the Act requires, but we think it's pretty nice.'
"In a sense, 'special character' is an invention by councils that offers a mechanism by which they can protect villas and houses that look like villas."
In practice, this has seen wealthier suburbs undergo less development than those further away – which has, in turn, led to a situation whereby those who can least afford to drive long distances to work live the furthest away, and those with the most money live nearest the best public transport.
"It's an awful irony," says Wilson.
"It points firstly to the need for better public transport to serve those who live further out, but it's also inevitable because all the public transport tends to go into the main centres into the middle of the city and therefore passes through that ring of fringe suburbs.
That's why they'll always have the best public transport."
The historical approach to building in decades past has led to Auckland sprawling over an enormous amount of land.
But intensification of building doesn't automatically mean that a city loses its character or personality.
"Paris, for example, has a density of 213 people per hectare, Barcelona has 156. And Auckland is at 25. Even Sydney is double that at 50," says Wilson.
The point he makes here is that when done properly, intensification can actually add to the experience of the city – rather than detract from it.
"Sydney, for instance, has lots of terraced housing, which is one of the reasons that it's denser. I don't think many people would argue that terraced housing as developed in Sydney is a bad thing."
The problem, however, is that creating liveable aesthetically pleasing spaces requires good design – and this isn't a guarantee.
"The new rules don't affect the design rules … They won't make the buildings we put up better or worse," says Wilson.
"There is still a need for better design rules within our cities. We need better protection of green spaces, we need to create better protection of trees, and we need better standards of what is good design. Those things are hard to develop because good design is a personal choice for a lot of people."
And as long as there is debate about what is aesthetically pleasing and what is not, we'll continue having discussions about which areas should be developed and which should be left alone.
The Front Page is a daily news podcast from the New Zealand Herald, available to listen to every weekday from 5am.