'Do you know who I am?' - Aaron Gilmore

National's Aaron Gilmore has been slammed for his lack of accountability following an alleged drunken, abusive dinner at a Hamner Springs restaurant.

Mr Gilmore allegedly called a waiter a "dickhead" at the weekend and threatened to get him sacked by the Prime Minister when his table was refused more wine.

He says he can't remember the incident, but claims everyone at his table was "grossly intoxicated" and acting "boisterous", and the comment may have been made by someone else.

One of those dining with the MP, Christchurch lawyer Andrew Riches, says Mr Gilmore's attempt to "shift responsibility" to his dinner guests is "extremely disappointing and completely unjustified". 

Mr Riches says he was ashamed to see a newly reappointed backbench list MP use his relationship with the Prime Minister to try and get the waiter to back down from his decision not to serve more wine.

"He threatened to have the Prime Minister’s Office intervene and end the waiter’s employment," says Mr Riches.

Another source who was there told 3 News that Gilmore handed over his business card and said 'This is me, do you know who I am?'

Mr Riches says the service at the restaurant that night had been outstanding.

"After Mr Gilmore departed, I was left to explain to the staff member that the powers of a backbench list MP are rather limited, do not extend to the firing of restaurant staff and that his job was safe."

Mr Riches was initially going to "let the matter lie" but was prompted to release more information when Mr Gilmore failed to "accept blame for his own actions".

"Given the level of media interest and the half hearted apology of Mr Gilmore, I consider it prudent to have the facts set out in full to prevent other persons being unfairly tarnished."

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister says that John Key is "not going to get into details of the claims and counter-claims" but that he had accepted Mr Gilmore's apology and hoped the MP has learnt a lesson from the incident.

In a statement the spokesperson said:

"Any suggestion that a Member of Parliament has sought to use the influence of the Prime Minister’s office inappropriately is a serious matter. My chief of staff has rung Mr Gilmore this afternoon and Mr Gilmore refuted the allegation. Mr Gilmore indicated that he did not believe that he used the words claimed in Mr Riches' statement”.

Mr Gilmore returned to Parliament in February this year when Lockwood Smith retired and David Carter became Speaker. He first entered Parliament in 2008 but was ousted at the last election when National lost a list MP seat.

He made headlines during his first term when the CV posted on his Parliament web page carried credentials he did not have.

A National Party insider told 3 News today that many in the caucus did not want him back as an MP and he was an outsider even before this incident.

3 News

source: newshub archive