Budget 2012: Hardly a crackdown on the rich

TRACY WATKINS
Last updated 14:29 24/05/2012

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OPINION: Bill English was yesterday claiming today's budget as a crackdown on the rich.

Hardly.

Sure some tax loopholes exploited by farmers and bach owners have been closed.

But smokers take the biggest hit, and even children are not spared - they face what is essentially a new tax on their earnings, with only limited exemptions for cash in hand baby sitting and lawn mowing jobs.

It is hard to believe this is what English had in mind when he told reporters on Wednesday that high income earners who exploited tax loopholes were in his sights.

More money is saved by no longer adjusting early childcare subsidies for inflation - a move that will see more costs shifted onto working mums and dads over time, but with no immediate pain.

Elsewhere it's more of the same: $100 million here, $20 million there...much of it previously foreshadowed with announcements on class sizes, student allowances and prescription charges.  

In other words, it's a nickel and dime budget which will spark howls of outrage from smokers but few others.

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- Fairfax Media

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The lower drink-driving limits from December are:

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