Porirua Mayor upset by criticism over family's living situation

Porirua Mayor Mike Tana is frustrated at having to defend where his family lives, saying he doesn't want his family to be brought into political dealings.

When Mr Tana campaigned he said his family would make the move from Rotorua to Porirua eventually. Two years later it is yet to happen.

Councillors Anita Baker and Ana Coffey told Stuff they weren't happy with the long distance set-up and Councillor Ross Leggett, the father of former Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett, questioned if he could do the job with his family so far away.

But the Mayor said his family moved from Porirua to Rotorua to stay with his father when Mr Tana was travelling a lot in his previous job and since then, life has gotten in the way of moving them back.

"Just after I became Mayor my dad had a stroke. Bringing my family back was around supporting my father," he told RadioLIVE's Morning Talk.

"My dad is still not well, but the thing that these people don't understand is that my children have been born and raised here.

"I've been here the longest I've ever been in one place and our family is coming home as soon as possible, making sure that we keep our family safe."

He said it was distressing to be answering questions about his family as he had asked the media to leave them alone.

"Measure me on the work that we do and the amazing, positive feeling that we have in this city," he said.

"Now is not the time to bring my family into this."

Mr Tana believes the issue is being pushed by Nick Leggett, who elected not to run for mayor of Porirua again in 2016, instead seeking the Wellington mayoralty.

He lost to Justin Lester and now works for the New Zealand Alcohol Beverages Council.

Nick Leggett told Stuff he thought Mr Tana's living situation raised questions about the Mayor's commitment to the city, especially considering he moved to Wellington city when he contested the mayoralty there.

"I felt I had to show commitment for living there which is why we moved there. Mike has been elected for two years and he still hasn't done it," he said.