Now that the "bogeyman on the shoulder" has gone it's time to move forward, Napier MP Stuart Nash said.
The resounding vote against the proposal was "fantastic" he said from the United Kingdom.
He admitted he had not been confident the proposal would be voted down as it was the first time he had been involved in a campaign where the other side had completely "out spent" his team.
During the last 18 months he had simply tried to make sure voters had all the facts they needed before voting.
Mr Nash was staunchly against amalgamation because he believed it was not the right governance structure for the region.
"I really believe local government is about local communities."
Mr Nash said the councils were already working together where it mattered, Jetstar's decision to fly to the Bay as well as the establishment of the Hawke's Bay Business Hub were good examples of this, he said.
Now it was time for local leaders to come together and put the region's interests first.
He wanted to see everyone sit around a table and have a conversation about how Hawke's Bay can now move forward.
The region's movers and shakers already meet regularly at the Hawke's Bay Intersector Leadership Group, however, Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Peter Butler recently admitted he never went to the "talkfest".
Mr Nash believed these meetings would work better now the "bogeyman on the shoulder" had gone.
"Amalgamation was dominating, now we can move forward."
Mr Nash said the region's economic development should be at the top of everyone's list.