The Auckland Indian woman who has accused MP Richard Worth of sending vulgar messages to her is trying to retrieve some deleted messages from Vodafone.

But hostilities between Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader Phil Goff over the matter stepped up yesterday over conflicting versions of their telephone conversation about it on May 6 - including the time of it.

One of the deleted text messages is alleged to be advising the woman where to buy a particular see-through garment in Hyderabad in India, where she was visiting last December.

Mr Goff said last night the woman yesterday requested the texts from Vodafone and had been told that after three months, only the police could request them.

However, Vodafone spokesman Paul Brislen today told NZPA retrieving deleted texts was difficult.

He said Vodafone would not retrieve deleted texts on request, but could attempt to only when there were legal requirements from the likes of police.

Even then, the company's system was not set up to make such a request simple.

"We may have them going back a couple of days, but that's probably about it."

Mr Brislen said some modern handsets could retain deleted texts on folders within the unit, but in general "once you've deleted them, they've gone".

Mr Goff said he was helping the woman to try to retrieve the texts. He said many of the texts had not been deleted such as one suggesting she go swimming with him.

In a file note of the conversation which he says he wrote immediately after the call with Mr Key, Mr Goff writes: "Inappropriate behaviour verging on sexual harassment - suggestions of buying see-through clothing, going swimming, holiday in Goa."

According to the statement tabled in Parliament by Mr Goff, the woman received about 40 text messages and 60 phone calls from November 26 to February 23.

Dr Worth resigned as a minister last week and is facing a police investigation over a complaint of a sexual nature from another woman.

But Dr Worth's future in the National caucus could rest on any alleged text messages. Dr Worth assured Mr Key in writing that the accusations were wrong and threatened to sue. Mr Key has suggested that it would take only one damaging text for him to move for Dr Worth's removal from the caucus.

"You only need to produce one text and you have completely corroborated your story in which case obviously you would act immediately," he said on Newstalk ZB on Friday.

A meeting was to have been arranged that day between Mr Key and the woman but it was called off because Labour objected to her having to meet first with Mr Key's chief of staff, Wayne Eagleson, to show him the texts.

Mr Key disputed Mr Goff's claim that in their May 6 conversation, that Mr Key had said he had heard rumours before about Dr Worth and that was why he had not been made Speaker.

Mr Goff's file note of the conversation states: "Key indicated he had heard rumours before the election - reason why Worth had not been made Speaker. Had raised it directly with Worth who had denied it ..."'

The file note is headed 6 May 2009, 9.45 - 9.55pm. Mr Key said "That can't be right because I got off the plane at 10pm."

KEY VS GOFF
The time: Goff says he called at 9.45pm. Key says he was flying into Auckland at the time.

Speakership: Goff says Key said he had heard rumours before about Worth and that was why he was not made Speaker. Key says he did not mention the Speaker's job.

Remedy: Key says Goff said there was little that could be done about it. Goff denies that.

Quantity: Key says Goff told him there were only a couple of texts. Goff denies that.

- With NZPA