John Key: Mum lives on through me

John Key has reflected on his mother Ruth's influence, as he looks back on his career in politics before he leaves for good on Wednesday.

"She was a very incredible woman, and left a big mark on me," Mr Key said in an interview with political editor Patrick Gower on Tuesday.

"There's obviously a degree of sadness that she wasn't here to see it. Any parent is proud of the achievements of their children. But a lot of her is in me, and so in that respect that lives on."

Does he ever think about his father?

"Not really," he said. "I don't remember him at all."

"He died when I was about six. I have one memory of Dad, that's the only one I've actually got, and he never played any part in sort of growing up.

"Mum had a picture of him in her bedroom but that was about it. She spent very little time talking about him and as far as she was concerned when he passed away she took the responsibility of raising the kids."

All he remembers about his Dad is being given a toy.

"When I was about four or five he came home one night and gave me this thing, and for some reason it stuck with me."