It seemed too good to be true and it was.

The apparent solidarity behind Greens co-leader Metiria Turei masked bitter divisions, just like other parties have.

The sudden resignation of two MPs, Kennedy Graham and David Clendon, over Turei's handling of historic offending has lifted the lid on turmoil in the Greens.

The MPs gave her an ultimatum. They said they would quit unless she stepped down as co-leader; she didn't so they did.

The party establishment moved to contain the fall-out in the way that other parties do - to criticise the two rebel MPs as pretty useless and lazy, which is particularly unfair on Kennedy Graham who works his butt off in strange areas of international law.

That accounts for their joint statement sounding more like a judgment from The Hague.

But the telling line is the one that says "the timing by Metiria of her admissions, and her continuing justification of her actions, we see as incompatible with the standards of leadership of the Green Party."

It is the "continuing justification" of her actions that have caused so much division across the country, not the original offence.

It is comforting to know that there are some in the Green Party who do not see Turei as a perpetual victim, and that there are members in the party who are trying to have normal standards apply.

But there she stays at No 1 because to resign would be to admit that Turei's calculated gambles, including admitting benefit fraud, had been a disaster.

After the revelation last week of historic electoral fraud, she decided it would be enough to rule herself out of taking a cabinet position.

When it turned out that Labour leader Jacinda Ardern had already decided rule her out, Turei's sacrifice could hardly be seen as any sacrifice at all.

The crisis is unprecedented for the Green Party. At its best it has been the conscience of the Parliament, at its worst its holier than thou preachers.

Now it appears like all the rest.