Prime Minister John Key says he understands the plight of Afghan interpreters who are seeking safety in New Zealand but he isn't giving an assurance they'll be allowed to come here.
The interpreters are working with New Zealand's Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamyan province and say their lives will be in danger when it withdraws in April next year.
An interpreter told a newspaper at the weekend that he and 25 others had received death threats and were fearful the Taliban would hunt them down and kill them.
"I think they make a sound case, I think they've got a legitimate position to put to the New Zealand government," Mr Key told reporters on Monday.
"I can understand that they've worked with New Zealand, in New Zealand's best interests, and it is at least feasible that there's some risk to them if they remain in Afghanistan."
Mr Key says Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman is working on it and will bring a paper to cabinet.
"I'm sympathetic to what they're saying, they've helped New Zealand, we want to make sure they are safe... we just need to assess the risks - I'm not closing the door."
Labour leader David Shearer says the government needs to act to protect the interpreters.
"We cannot abandon these people. They have risked their lives working with our soldiers on the ground, we have a duty to protect them," he said.
Labour's foreign affairs spokesman Phil Goff urged the government to follow Canada's lead by setting up a programme to offer their interpreters a new home in Canada.