15 May 2013

More Afghan interpreters apply to come to NZ

6:38 pm on 15 May 2013

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse is considering applications from a small number of Afghan interpreters still living in Afghanistan who want to move to New Zealand.

In April, 30 interpreters and their families who had been employed by the New Zealand Defence Force in Afghanistan arrived in Auckland under a special resettlement package.

The Goverment agreed to accept them because of fears they would be targeted by the Taliban when New Zealand troops left Bamyan province.

A spokesperson for the minister says five or six interpreters not included in the original package have applied for resettlement.

He says the minister and the Defence Force are also trying to verify details relating to another six interpreters who may have worked for the SAS in Kabul and would also like to move to New Zealand.

The Labour Party says the Immigration Minister should approve asylum for the rest of the Afghan interpreters.

Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says these people clearly face a real risk if they are not given asylum; they have worked for New Zealand, and loyalty is a two-way process.