SkyCity’s convention centre bill has passed its first reading this week, and the bill has now been opened up to submissions. Members of the local community have the chance to make submissions against or in support of the plan, and the Green Party is encouraging residents to speak out against the New Zealand International Convention Centre Bill. On The Greens’ website, the group urges members of the community to make their voices heard. They have provided the submission guidelines so that individuals can write their own argument against the bill, and they have also provided a ‘quick submission’ form. It includes fields for the individuals name, email and phone number – but the message field is already filled out. In it, many arguments against the bill are listed. The message notes that the deal could lead to an increase in problem gambling rates. Research has shown that more opportunities to gambling correlates to more problem gamblers. The Greens are certain that the deal will lead to more individuals across the country developing gambling addictions. The group also argues that the bill does not benefit the community as well as it could. Although 240 new pokies are being added to SkyCity Auckland, the returns to the community are minimal. The casino only donates 2% of its gambling revenue to pokie grants while pubs and clubs must donate upwards of 35%. The Greens feel that the casino should do more to benefit the community. The Greens are hoping to follow in the footsteps of No More Pokies, a community group that gathered 9000 submissions in support of a sinking lid policy in Auckland. This week, the sinking lid policy was passed, thanks to the efforts of this group. The Greens hope to gather thousands of submissions against the convention centre bill, providing to the local government that allowing SkyCity to build the new venue is a bad idea.