There's an old saying that patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels. If so, Don Brash has been pretty dubious recently. In his immigrant-bashing speech on Friday, he said that
You can’t be a New Zealander and write to foreign newspapers urging a boycott of New Zealand exports, as one would-be citizen did recently in reaction to the publication by two newspapers of some cartoons satirizing Mohammed.
Later that same day, he went even further, and on National Radio's Checkpoint, called such behaviour treason [audio]:
It's quite different, criticising your country, from sending a letter to a foreign newspaper saying "don't buy anything from New Zealand". That's treasonous...
[w]riting to a foreign newspaper saying "do not buy goods from New Zealand" - that it seems to me is verging on treason.
Firstly, Brash is simply wrong. The crime of treason is defined in s73 of the Crimes Act 1961. It includes things like killing or wounding the monarch (a lovely holdover from feudalism there), as well as levying war against New Zealand or using force to overthrow the government (presumably burning the Beehive might be covered as well). It does not include "damaging the New Zealand economy" or "saying things that Don Brash doesn't like". Though possibly Brash will want to change that if ever allowed near power.
But suppose for the sake of argument that we grant Brash his premise, and agree for the sake of argument that telling people not to buy our stuff or otherwise speaking in a way which would potentially damage the New Zealand economy is treason. What then does that say about people who essentially tell tourists not to come here because we're rife with petty crime, or point out that we have no climate change policy and our greenhouse gas emissions are still rising, thus encouraging Europeans not to buy our stuff because we're environmentally dirty. Or indeed, someone who consistently gives speeches - overseas, even - saying that the New Zealand economy is a basket case, sending the clear message to foreigners that they shouldn't invest here?
Don Brash would surely deny that his long history of bagging New Zealand is treasonous in any way, regardless of the possible economic consequences. But then he must extend the same right to everybody else, and accept that their criticisms are also part of the ordinary workings of a democratic society. To adopt any other position would be the height of hypocrisy - and an invitation to be judged by his own standards.