Euthanasia referendum: Emotional Sir John Key's plea on End of Life Choice Act and why he's voting 'yes'

Sir John Key has made an emotional plea on the proposed euthanasia law and is throwing his support behind it.

The former National Prime Minister's mum died of Alzheimer's and he's spoken of the toll it took between her diagnosis and death.

Sir John, who took part in Three's euthanasia discussion airing on Wednesday night, said he would want the choice if he was in that position.

"My mother died of Alzheimer's - from diagnosis to death was five months. Her body weight completely halved and she didn’t have a clue who I was at the end of it," Sir John told host Patrick Gower.

"I mean, it was an awful death for her."

The euthanasia referendum is binding, meaning if more than 50 percent of voters tick 'yes', the End of Life Choice Act will become law.

Sir John believes people deserve the option.

"Honestly, if I wanted to do that personally, if I was in that condition, I would actually want that choice."

Sir John Key.
Sir John Key. Photo credit: Newshub.

He said while he couldn't have chosen for his mum, "If I could do it for myself, I would. Because in the end, I don't know if I would want my family to actually look at me like that."

Sir John said he didn't want his children's memory of him to be himself in an awful condition.

"I've seen a situation where you desperately want to stay alive to say goodbye to your family and friends but there's also a situation where you get near the very, very end, where you can be left with the lasting memories of your parent is one of them in a terrible state.

"I'm not sure if that's the memory I want to leave my kids."