Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown has called for a referendum on possible council amalgamations following a survey of the region.
Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett slammed the announcement, calling it "great politics but a disingenuous way to conduct debate about reform".
The Colmar-Brunton survey polled 500 people in Kapiti and 400 in each of the other council jurisdictions.
Regionally, a majority of 58 per cent favoured existing councils, possibly with more sharing of services, and 32 per cent wanted some change.
Ms Wade-Brown said the region's councils would propose two options that acknowledged views across the region.
One would be existing councils sharing more services, and a second would be one or two larger councils on this side of the Rimutaka range.
"Obviously, there is a strong feeling for keeping the boundaries the same and sharing services more but, of the people who wanted change, there was quite a diversity."
Although the number wanting change was a minority, it was a significant one that could not be ignored, she said.
A referendum should be held before the Local Government Commission issued its recommendation, because a petition with almost 50,000 signatures might be needed to force one later.
Porirua City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council have set up an independent panel to investigate residents' preferences for local government.
Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said a two-option referendum between the status quo and a super-city would not be about democracy but "about scaring the bejeezus out of people".
"That is somebody who wants to shut down the debate. It's a smart way of doing it but what you are denying, of course, is free and frank discussion and of the views of people in the Wellington region."
There was a disconnection between development planning, done by territorial authorities, and transport planning, done by the regional council.
Councils had never been unable to concede anything on issues of regional importance.
"They want to do things themselves," he said.
"They talk regionally and operate very, very locally."
- The Wellingtonian