Wairarapa has taken a step towards having a stand-alone local authority.
The three councils voted separately yesterday to endorse a unitary authority for the region.
All held meetings to discuss the recommendations on governance options made by a working party made up of council representatives.
Only South Wairarapa's decision was unanimous, with Carterton and Masterton recording a split decision.
At Masterton, two councillors voted against the decision (with two absent) while at Carterton only one dissented.
The recommendations noted the status quo was no longer an option and there were only two choices left: a single Wairarapa unitary authority or being part of a larger super-Wellington council.
The working party backed Wairarapa having its own unitary authority, which would take on district and regional council functions.
An independent panel review led by Sir Geoffrey Palmer earlier reported that the unitary authority option would leave ratepayers with a shortfall of $11.5 million a year.