13 May 2013

MP accused of sending threatening text messages

10:21 pm on 13 May 2013

Beleaguered National Party backbencher Aaron Gilmore appears to have sent threatening text messages since his decision to resign from Parliament.

Mr Gilmore announced on Sunday night he was quitting after facing criticism for his conduct following a boozy incident at a Hanmer Springs hotel where he is accused of threatening to use his position to have a waiter sacked.

Aaron Gilmore.

Aaron Gilmore. Photo: RNZ

It was also subsequently revealed a contract he had with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment before he returned to Parliament wasn't renewed because of inappropriate emails.

On Monday afternoon, blogger Cameron Slater posted a screen shot of a message from the Christchurch list MP to his blog site. It was sent to another person and read: "Utu, you should learn what it means".

Mr Slater says Mr Gilmore is simply digging himself a deeper hole with this kind of behaviour.

"Any chance Aaron Gilmore had of going out with some element of humility and understanding has been thrown away. And again, the only person who is responsible for that is Aaron Gilmore.

"He really does need to stand in front of a mirror and hold the real person to account for all of this troubles - which is himself."

'Utu' is the Maori word for 'revenge'.

The Speaker's office says it has not received a formal resignation from Aaron Gilmore yet and the MP says he will seek to make a final statement to Parliament on Tuesday.

Prime Minister John Key says Mr Gilmore has made the right decision to resign and he is not worried about the text messages.

"I haven't seen the text messages, but I've seen the media reports. Look in the end, what I'd say is Aaron Gilmore made the right decision for him and his family - really, that's kind of the end of the matter.

"I'm sure he'll have a statement he'd like to make tomorrow - put on the record his version of events or whatever comments he wants to make - but really, we're at the end of this process, not the start."

National spared embarrassing row

The National Party has been spared an embarrassing row with Aaron Gilmore agreeing to resign.

National Party president Peter Goodfellow says the decision would have been a tough one for Mr Gilmore to make, but says he has put his loyalty to the party first.

Aaron Gilmore lost Prime Minister John Key's support last week, though he appeared determined to stay on, until on Sunday night he announced he was resigning, saying to remain as an MP would only cause his loved ones more upset and cause him further undeserved stress.

Mr Gilmore says he is determined to learn from the incident and promises to continue his life with more grace and humility.

He says attempts have been made to discredit him, and while he accepts he has made mistakes, media attacks on his integrity have started to take a toll on those around him.

Labour Party leader David Shearer says the MP has done the right thing and, obviously, for the National Party it was a welcome announcement.

However, Mr Shearer says questions remain over how it was handled. "I'm stunned that the Prime Minister has not yet spoken to Aaron Gilmore or even had him into his office. He is after all, was, one of his MPs, why wouldn't you want to do that?"

The next member on National's list is Claudette Hauiti from Auckland.