An expert in copyright law has been appointed as the new minister responsible for the New Zealand music industry.

National Party MP Chris Finlayson was named minister of arts, culture and heritage in the new administration, in addition to other duties including attorney general.

Before entering Parliament, Finlayson practiced law in Wellington for 25 years and was a partner at Bell Gully, one of New Zealand's oldest law firms and a specialist in intellectual property issues.

Earlier in the month, the ruling Labour Coalition was defeated by the center/right National party, and prime minister Helen Clark - who also served as arts minister - announced she would be standing down as Labour leader.

During its three terms in government, Labour has invested around $30 million Australian ($16.5 million) in a range of music initiatives.

The new administration has yet to unveil detailed arts policies, but in its manifesto National pledged to retain funding for key public bodies such as New Zealand On Air and the NZ Music Commission.

Key music industry figures believe that the local business has nothing to fear from the new administration. Mark Kneebone, owner of the Tardus Music label and chairman of Independent Music New Zealand (IMNZ), says initiatives developed by organizations such as NZMC had been successful in generating exports, so he could see no reason why they would be abandoned.

Campbell Smith, chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ), is also looking forward to forging a new relationship with Finlayson, who he worked with closely in the past on copyright issues.

"He's been a great person to deal with and he has a great understanding of the subject because he is a copyright lawyer," Smith told BillboardBiz. "I haven't had any conversations with him about the music industry in a wider sense but he is a very reasonable and smart man, so I don't anticipate any problems."