Days from NSW election, Michael Daley stumbles over key policy in debate

During a People's Forum with undecided voters, NSW Labor leader Michael Daley was not able to recall how much cash his party had pledged for schools and TAFE.

NSW Labor leader Michael Daley has failed to recall how much funding his party pledged for schools and TAFE, despite education being at the core of the party's campaign.

During a People's Forum hosted by Sky News and the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday night, Michael Daley said Labor would spend $3 billion more on TAFE before saying he would need to check the figure.

Michael Daley was unable to recall how much NSW Labor had pledged to spend on schools and TAFE.
Source: AAP

AAP understands Mr Daley was referring to grants given to TAFE by the government each year.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet noted in a tweet that independent costings by the Parliamentary Budget Office showed Labor was planning to invest just over $25 million over four years.

Labor's own policy is costed at $64.5 million over forward estimates.

Mr Daley also could not remember the exact figure his party would spend on schools - a key Labor policy - under Gonski funding, before coming back later in the forum to say NSW Labor would spend about $2.7 billion.

Gladys Berejiklian and Michael Daley clashed over stadiums and climate change but the Labor leader stumbled over funding questions
Source: AAP

NSW Labor's policy announcement said this sum would be over the life of the current state and federal funding agreement due to end in 2027.

The PBO's costing for the policy is just over $169 million over four years, Mr Perrottet tweeted.

At the end of the forum, 50 per cent of voters were more likely to vote for Ms Berejiklian.

Some 25 per cent were more likely to vote for Mr Daley, while a further 25 per cent were still undecided.

Video footage emerged on Monday of Mr Daley telling a Blue Mountains pub forum last year that highly-skilled Asian migrants were forcing Australian-born workers to "flee" Sydney.

The Labor leader admitted on Tuesday he could have used better language when discussing the issue of housing affordability and apologised if anyone was offended.

"I'm not (a racist), I never have been, people who know me know that I'm not," Mr Daley told reporters on Wednesday.

"I did use words that I shouldn't have, I accept that and my apology is unqualified."

When asked if the opposition leader's remark was racist, Ms Berejiklian told AAP "absolutely it was".

A worried NSW Labor party ran full-page ads featuring Mr Daley and his family on the front of several Chinese language newspapers on Wednesday.

NSW Labor leader Michael Daley was caught on video warning voters that Asian migrants are taking the jobs of young Australians.
Source: Youtube

A recent opinion poll suggests the premier is narrowly leading Mr Daley 38 per cent to 36 on a preferred leader basis.

The YouGov-Galaxy survey, published by the Daily Telegraph, indicates the major parties are split at 50 per cent each on a two-party preferred basis.

Published 21 March 2019 at 6:38am, updated 21 March 2019 at 7:02am