A leaked text message exchange between National list MP Aaron Gilmore and the key witness to his outburst in a Hanmer hotel has called into question the embattled National MP's account of the incident.
Mr Gilmore yesterday apologised for his dispute with hotel staff while challenging most of the details published about it.
The Christchurch MP admitted to being rude and arrogant and accepted he may have been a bully, but denied he asked wait staff, "Do you know who I am?"
He said he did not threaten to use the Prime Minister's influence to get the waiter sacked, and continued to lay the blame for the dispute on the entire group of people he had dined with.
But the leaked text message exchange with Mr Gilmore's dining companion, Christchurch lawyer Andrew Riches, has cast doubt on Mr Gilmore's claim he did not threaten to use John Key's influence.
The messages were sent last Thursday - the same day the story broke and Mr Riches issued a statement to media denying the entire group was involved in the incident.
In one text, Mr Riches suggested Mr Gilmore had told a barman at the hotel that he would be fired and the PM would be involved.
Mr Gilmore replied: "I know."
Mr Riches said yesterday he stood by the statement he released last week, which said Mr Gilmore had been the only person in the group to behave badly and accused him of invoking the Prime Minister's office.
Mr Gilmore said Mr Riches had not lied, but the lawyer had accused him of saying things that he had not said.
The text exchange between Aaron Gilmore and Christchurch lawyer Andrew Riches:
Andrew Riches: "What's all this group stuff? You directly threatened to have the guy Fired and said the prime ministers office would be contacting his employer the next day. The girls were gone by that stage and I was just standing there. Stop trying to imply we did something."
Aaron Gilmore: "FFS the batman claims the group were racist and that I was escorted from the hotel."
Riches: "What's the batman?"
Riches: "What? That's ridiculous, we were lovely to him. I also never recall you calling anyone a dickhead"
Riches: "I didn't write that note because I thought we were boisterous, I wrote it because you told the guy he was being fired, said the pm would be involved and I didn't want the poor guy to worry about his job"
Gilmore: "I know. They are trying to make it seem bigger than that. Its bulls***. ive taken the blame and apologised. Just say nothing."
Riches: "You didn't take the blame. You blamed the rest of your group when the girls weren't even in the same room"
Gilmore: "I did the f***tard said I was not the only one drink and i was carried out of the bar. I said that I was rude but he claims others were too. It's not worth the argument."
Riches: "Well the herald just called ad informed me they have heard you mentioned the prime ministers office ad threatened to get them involved"
- Newstalk ZB with APNZ