Māori Council's Matthew Tukaki asks Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi to cancel 'racist' YouTuber Lee Williams' residency

Māori Council executive director Matthew Tukaki has written to Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi asking him to cancel controversial YouTuber Lee Williams' residency. 

Tukaki, who also chairs the National Māori Authority, wrote to Faafoi after receiving a message from Williams over social media, which Tukaki described as "abhorrent". 

Williams, a British-born Canterbury man who runs a YouTube channel that publishes far-right content, was let go in June from dairy company Synlait over allegations of white supremacist statements, following a campaign pushing for him to be fired. 

In Williams' message over social media to Tukaki, which Newshub has seen, the YouTuber wrote: "Only Maori are allowed to debate the issues with a token whitey with an opposing view so you can hijack the debate!"

He goes on to call Tukaki a "trougher", a derogatory term used to describe someone who utilises their position to benefit themselves. Williams also described Tukaki as a "Maori supremacist who's got a bit of Maori in him". 

Tukaki responded to the message calling Williams a "white supremacist and a racist", and suggested he "go back to your little England and take your filth with you". 

Tukaki then wrote to Faafoi asking him about the process to "request formal cancellation of Mr Williams [sic] residency or citizenship".

"Dear Minister, I am writing to you to request you urgently inquire into the residency status of one Lee Williams," Tukaki wrote in his letter to Faafoi. 

"As you may know Mr Williams is a recent arrival into New Zealand and has recently been dismissed from his place of employment as his 'rants' have emerged online and through his YouTube channel known as 'Across the Rubicon'.

Māori Council executive director Matthew Tukaki.
Māori Council executive director Matthew Tukaki. Photo credit: Facebook / Matthew Tukaki

"Mr Williams has taken it on himself to pour hate and scorn on Maori in a way that is both racist and divisive - but also bordering on threatening. Mr Williams is a danger not just to race relations in this country but to Maori, our Maori communities, our whanau."

Tukaki said Williams' behaviour, as well as that of his followers, "surely must fail the very basic character tests for residency and citizenship". 

"While you might consider these matters are police matters, I would strongly suggest this is a matter of residency and citizenship and to be frank with you - I am asking you to consider the revocation of this man's residency. 

"I do not do this lightly and I know this might appear to be an extreme measure. It's also not about silencing a voice - but when that voice is intent and hellbent on racism and hate against Maori I must take a stand.

"I would like to know the process to request formal cancellation of Mr Williams residency or citizenship."

Newshub has sought a response from Williams. 

Lee Williams.
Lee Williams. Photo credit: YouTube

A response was also asked of the Immigration Minister, but Faafoi's office told Newshub he is currently taking some time off. Parliament is in recess for three weeks. 

Williams earlier this month confronted ACT leader David Seymour at a public meeting in Ashburton, where he ranted about "freedom" and the controversial He Puapua report

He launched into an attack on Seymour for not speaking out about the report, a paper commissioned by the Government which sets out a proposed roadmap for co-governance between Māori and the Crown. 

But it was in fact Seymour who first raised concerns about He Puapua

"He's clearly not someone that you'd call an intellectual or pays close attention to events - but hey, what can you do?" Seymour told Newshub at the time. 

Williams' YouTube channel, which has more than 15,000 subscribers, has often targeted Māori Party co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer. 

"We are experiencing an unprecedented increase in racist rhetoric across social media by white supremacist organisations that is inciting hate speech and violence against tangata whenua," Ngarewa-Packer said last month. 

The Māori Party has called for a joint task force between the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) and the police to investigate the targeting of Māori by right-wing extremist groups.