(Images: AAP/Erik Anderson; AAP/Joel Carrett)

It's sad that a politician as competent and hard-working as Gladys Berejiklian now finds herself forever tarnished by her association with spiv -- and allegedly worse -- Daryl Maguire. Berejiklian herself did nothing wrong and wouldn't have gained anything by Maguire's ever-more convoluted efforts to pay off his debts and land a big score. "Pie in the sky," she called them.

But Berejiklian's sin is not what she did, but what she tolerated and, to an extent, enabled: the toxic "Games of Mates" politics of NSW.

Games of Mates is the on-the-money term devised by Cameron Murray and Paul Frijters to describe how shonks and spivs -- in the guise of property developers, miners, bankers and other business people -- exploit political and bureaucratic connections to tilt the regulatory field in their favour.