Wanganui District Council has decided by a narrow margin to remain part of Horizons Regional Council - at least for now.
Horizons recently carried out a representation review to consider whether the electoral system should be changed, whether Maori representation should be introduced, and the number of regional councillors for each district.
The Local Electoral Act 2001 requires all local authorities to conduct a representation review every six years. Horizons' last review was in 2006.
The initial proposal was that the current representation arrangements would remain the same for the 2013 local government elections.
The decision before the Wanganui District Council was whether to support the proposal.
Councillor Nicki Higgie began the discussion by saying she would vote against it.
"I'm doing this to register a protest because this rules out the possibility of a unitary authority for Wanganui," Mrs Higgie said.
Councillors Philippa Baker-Hogan and Michael Laws also said they would vote against the motion.
Mr Laws said to agree to the status quo would be to "ignore the will of the Wanganui public".
During the 2010 local government elections, 67 per cent of Wanganui residents who voted answered yes to a referendum question about Wanganui seceding from Horizons.
"Our policy on this is a policy of failure and I hold [Mayor Annette Main] largely responsible for that.
"Wanganui is grossly under-represented and that is the reason why Wanganui's voice is ignored around the Horizons table," Mr Laws said.
Wanganui has two regional councillors, who each represent 21,750 constituents - the highest number of constituents per councillor of any district in the region. However, the proposal states that this is within the accepted range.
Councillor Jack Bullock, who had originally seconded the motion supporting the review, withdrew his seconding during the discussion. Ms Main seconded the motion instead.
She said she had attempted to begin dialogue with Ruapehu District Council about forming a unitary authority.
"It's just falling on deaf ears with Ruapehu. There simply doesn't seem to be any interest," Ms Main said.
The vote to support Horizons' review was won 7-5.
Against: Clive Solomon, Michael Laws, Nicki Higgie, Jack Bullock and Philippa Baker-Hogan. For: Mayor Annette Main, Councillors Ray Stevens, Rob Vinsen, Rangi Wills, Randhir Dahya, Sue Westwood and Hamish McDouall. Absent: Allan Anderson.