A proposal to unite four West Coast councils into one unitary body is being considered by the Local Government Commission.
The application, lodged by Peter Salter and Anthea Keenan, would see Westland, Grey, and Buller District Councils and Westland Regional Council combined.
Commission chair Sir Wira Gardiner says work will begin gauging whether there's community support for a reorganisation of local government.
"If the Commission is not satisfied about community support, it may at this point decline the application. It is satisfied there is support, it will call for alternative applications before deciding on a preferred local government option," he says. If locals don't want the status quo, the Commission will develop a draft proposal and put the document out for wider consultation.
"If support for reorganisation is demonstrable, the Commission looks forward to working with local government and other West Coast stakeholders in considering the long-term challenges the community faces and the options for local government that can best meet those challenges."
A community poll may be held on a proposal before any major changes.