A decision that Kaipara ratepayers must pay debts the council ran up for a sewerage scheme, sets an appalling precedent farmers in the area say.
The Mangawhai sewerage scheme cost $60 million.
The Ratepayers association sought a High Court declaration that its members were not liable because the District Council borrowed money without telling them.
Justice Heath said the association would have succeeded if Parliament hadn't passed a Rating Validation Act just before the matter went to court.
Spokesperson for the group Farmers of New Zealand, Bill Guest, said there is a problem with accountability.
He said the decision sends a signal that district councillors can commit illegal acts and have them swept under the carpet by Parliament.