Daley insists 'numbers make sense to me'

Michael Daley stumbled over details of funding commitments but says public life isn't a memory test.
Michael Daley stumbled over details of funding commitments but says public life isn't a memory test.

NSW Labor leader Michael Daley insists he's a numbers guy despite stumbling over details of key funding commitments during a live television debate.

Election campaigns should be a "contest of ideas," not memories, Mr Daley told AAP on Thursday ahead of the weekend's election.

"Politics and public life is not a game show, it's not a memory test," he said.

The Labor leader did concede he got details "muddled" during Wednesday night's leaders' debate.

Mr Daley told the audience at a Western Sydney University forum he would "get back to you" on the amount of money a Labor government would spend on TAFE.

He also became confused when explaining how he would bankroll the Gonski funding model differently to the current coalition government.

The opposition leader said he was human and the long election campaign had taken it's toll, but he insisted numbers made sense to him.

"They make sense, it's just that in the heat of an election campaign where you've just been through the costings ... I'm human, sometimes you get the details muddled, and that's what happened," he said.

"I could've been more polished."

Mr Daley believes the voters in NSW are more interested in his big ideas for the state rather than his capacity to retain numbers.

"People in politics are just like everybody else, they make mistakes, but it's the vision, the policies and the ability to deliver those policies that people are looking for.

"It's the promise of better policies that people are looking for, not gotcha moments in a debate."

He wouldn't be drawn on whether he had lost momentum in the last week of the campaign.

The election spotlight turned from the government's stadium woes to Mr Daley's leadership credentials this week after vision emerged of him telling a pub forum that skilled Asian migrants were taking local jobs.

Mr Daley, who has unreservedly apologised for his comments, said he wished he hadn't singled out Asians when making his point.

"I wish I'd used the term international rather than Asian," he said.

"People know what I was trying to say, they accept that my apology is genuine and I could've done better, there's no doubt about that."

The 53-year-old said he was trying to convey that living in Sydney was difficult and had become tougher under the current government.

"The fundamentals of the argument I was trying to make there was housing affordability in Sydney, now is at such a level that it's transforming our city," the Labor leader said.

"People are going to live further and further away."

Mr Daley said a "madness" had descended on Sydney during the reign of the current government.

"Four more years of this mob and NSW will be unsalvageable."

Australian Associated Press