Voters in Nelson City and the neighbouring Tasman District have rejected a proposal for the amalgamation of their two councils.
A referendum was held after the proposed merger was approved by the Local Government Commission in January.
The poll required at least 50% support for the proposal in each area before it could go ahead.
In Nelson City, 10,276 people, or almost 57% of voters, supported the merger.
However a majority in the Tasman District were against the idea with 16,532 of them, or more than 74%, rejecting it.
The Tasman District has never been keen to merge, Nelson Mayor Aldo Miccio, however, has always supported the idea.
Mayor of Tasman Richard Kempthorne says the referendum should be the final word on the proposal.
Mr Miccio, however, says he will look at why people did not like the proposal, so he can put forward an ammended one.
Mr Kempthorne, who did not support the merger, says voters would find that disrespectful.