On 23 September 2004, people from non-government agencies and public health agencies in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa and Tonga met in Auckland to discuss alcohol marketing and policy issues in the Islands. There were also participants from China, Japan and Sri Lanka, and speakers from non-government umbrella organisations Eurocare and the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance. The meeting was hosted by Professor Sally Casswell, Director of the SHORE Centre, and funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health.

A key purpose of the gathering was to begin building a Pacific network on alcohol policy issues. Information was shared about alcohol supply and marketing issues around the Pacific.

From Fiji came a copy of report commissioned by the Pacific Forum about the inclusion of alcohol and tobacco in the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA). There was considerable concern that this looked at the impacts of including alcohol on the location and quality of production, on employment and on tariff revenue for Pacific governments but did not consider social and public health impacts or the economic consequences of those.

Issues varied between Pacific Islands by size of population. Based on shared concerns and issues, participants brainstormed an action plan that covered minimum age of purchase, drink driving, licensing, advertising and sponsorship, research and policy, community action and trade treaty issues. Together, the group brained stormed an Action Plan on Alcohol Policy.