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Sunday, October 7, 2012
Labour calls to allow Afghan interpreters to be allowed into NZ...
Labour is urging the government to follow the example of Canada and set up a programme to allow Afghan interpreters come to NZ.
The government is being encouraged to allow Afghan interpreters who have helped the army in Bamiyan province the chance to call New Zealand home.
An interpreter told a newspaper at the weekend that he and 25 others serving with the army fear for their lives when the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team withdraws from Afghanistan in April next year.
He says many had received death threats and were fearful that the Taliban would hunt them down and kill them.
Labour leader David Shearer says the government needs to act to protect them.
"We cannot abandon these people. They have risked their lives working with our soldiers on the ground. We have a duty to help them," he said.
Labour Foreign Affairs spokesman Phil Goff urged the government to follow Canada's lead by setting up a programme to offer Afghan interpreters who have worked with their soldiers a new home in Canada in recognition of their service.
"If they are in danger, we must help them by offering them a chance to resettle here," Mr Goff said.
The government says it was aware of concerns of the interpreters and the issue was being considered by cabinet.
In April, Prime Minister John Key said the government would consider applications for asylum from interpreters working with New Zealand forces.
"We wouldn't want to leave people who have been integral to the process high and dry or at risk of their lives," he said at the time.