New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has compared the country to an Orwellian state because he feels he is being censored for remarks on Chinese immigration to New Zealand.

He invoked George Orwell's 1984 in claiming his freedom of speech was being removed by the Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy, news media and others, in particular over his criticism of Chinese foreign investment and immigration.

Speaking at a Grey Power meeting in Te Kuiti yesterday he compared Dame Susan and media to Orwell's Ministry of Truth - an agency which distributed propaganda and falsely revised history. "This sort of insidious censorship under the guise of the race relations industry has to be stopped in its tracks," he said.

Dame Susan, who became commissioner in March, said she would keep an eye on Mr Peters after his "Super City of Sin" speech in Auckland last month in which he claimed that Chinese were responsible for increasing gang-related crime and prostitution in Auckland.


He responded yesterday by saying the commissioner, encouraged by media, had overreacted to his speech.

"When [Dame Susan] became Race Relations Commissioner others criticised the appointment. New Zealand First did not. We felt she should be given a chance.

"We still believe that, but we would ask her to read our speeches and ignore the professionally outraged white liberals and cultural fellow travellers who pollute the landscape and demand the rest of the country pay for their civic amenities."

He stressed he was not against all trade with China nor was he against allowing skilled Chinese to enter the country.

But he was critical of New Zealand's fair trade deal because he felt it favoured China too heavily, and he was also concerned about Chinese investment in forests, farms and factories, fast-tracked visas for tourists and students, and property speculation in Auckland.

He pointed to several articles by Herald reporter Lincoln Tan to emphasise the problem of temporary visa holders from China becoming sex workers in NZ. He gave some praise to Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse for introducing new laws last week targeting employers who exploited migrant workers.

Mr Peters was especially opposed to what he felt were lenient immigration policies which allowed New Zealand to become a "rest home" for elderly Chinese. NZ First would change superannuation rules to make sure migrants would be paid out according to how much time they had spent in New Zealand, he said.

"A person of 10 years residence ... will be entitled to roughly a quarter of New Zealand Superannuation."