The Traitors NZ: Why Paul Henry enjoyed 'mentally torturing' contestants

The Traitors NZ host Paul Henry says he mentally tortured contestants on the new reality series, which he says makes for "brilliant, high-end television."

The show sees 19 contestants holed up in a luxury lodge trying to work out who the traitors are amongst them before they are "murdered" or banished from the game.

"It's new and television desperately needed something new," Henry told AM stand-in host Lloyd Burr.

"What we have produced is absolutely world class. It is brilliant, high-end television. 

"I am playing a role, this is very different for me. I'm playing me, but it is an acting role to a great extent."

In the series, Henry oversees proceedings, in a role he said is "lording it up".

"Essentially this is my game, I orchestrate the game. We're not starving people of food, we're not starving them of accommodation so many reality TV shows do. It starts raining and people are huddled under a piece of canvas, we don't do that," Henry said.

"We feed them well, we house them well - but we torture them mentally."

Henry said the New Zealand public will become hooked into the series.

"When you get into this programme, you will get into their head, you will form attachments with them. You'll be shouting at the TV, 'how can you not see that?'.

"You will absolutely become hooked."

The Traitors NZ premieres on Three and ThreeNow on August 7.

Watch the AM video above.