Te Radar has been cleared of wrongdoing after quoting a stranger who described former Prime Minister Helen Clark as "left of Mao, a bloody communist and a lesbian".

Fleur Punnett, of Auckland, complained to the Broadcasting Standards Authority that the comedian had breached standards relating to good taste and decency, accuracy and discrimination and denigration.

The comment was made on Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon show.

In a regular slot called The Week That Was, Te Radar said he was returning to New Zealand after last year's election when he overheard a stranger at the airport say: "Yeah, we got rid of the old PM, she was left of Mao, a bloody communist and a lesbian. She's gone. Best thing that ever happened to the country".

"And I thought 'Whoa, welcome back, it is so great to be back'," he said.

The BSA panel decided the comments did not breach any cited standards.

It ruled that the show's target audience was adult and that Te Radar was well-known for his satire, so he had not breached the standard relating to good taste.

"He was clearly being ironic when describing the conversation and, rather than supporting what the man said, he had been shocked by it," the authority said.

Because the item was a commentary piece rather than news, the accuracy standard did not apply, the panel ruled.

As for discrimination and denigration, the comments related to an individual rather than a section of the community, so that standard did not apply.

- NZPA