A comedian who made comments about former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark being a lesbian and a “bloody communist” has escaped censure after a broadcasting watchdog ruled he had not breached regulations.

Te Radar, who is best known for his satire, told Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon show that he had overheard a man at Auckland Airport criticising Ms Clark.

He quoted the man as saying: “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.”

Mr Radar, who had just arrived back in New Zealand, said: “And I thought ‘Whoa, welcome back, it is so great to be back’.”

A viewer complained he had breached standards relating to good taste and decency, accuracy and discrimination and denigration.

However, the country’s Broadcasting Standards Authority ruled that Mr Radar had not been supporting the man’s comments and that his reputation for satire and irony meant there was no breach.