Jacinda Ardern speaks to US President-elect Joe Biden about climate change, COVID-19 and trade

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated Joe Biden on becoming  President-elect of the United States during their first phone call. 

"A real pleasure to speak to US President-elect, Joe Biden this afternoon and congratulate him on behalf of New Zealand," Ardern said in an Instagram post on Monday.

"We talked about climate change, COVID 19, trade and our region (which he remembers fondly from his visit a few years ago)," she added.

"Looking forward to speaking again!"

The US presidential election result was called for Biden earlier this month after he overtook incumbent Donald Trump in the 'battleground' state of Pennsylvania, giving him more than 270 Electoral College points needed for victory.

Trump, the Republican candidate, has so far refused to concede victory to his Democrat rival. He claims the election was rigged and that there was widespread voter fraud. But his team is yet to provide evidence.

Earlier this month Ardern did not go so far as to condemn Trump for labelling the presidential election a "fraud", but she called for every vote to be counted, after Trump wanted vote counting to stop in Michigan and Georgia where he was losing.

When asked by Newshub if Trump was subverting democracy, Ardern said: "For any democracy what's really important is that their citizens support it, believe in it, that the political parties support it and believe in it."

Ardern added, "Our strong view is that other democracies should be left to run their course but that means letting every vote be counted and letting people have their say and for a democracy to be heard."

Ardern had already congratulated Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris in a statement released on November 8.

"The relationship between our two countries is strong, and I look forward to developing even closer relations with the incoming Biden Administration," Ardern said.

"As Vice President, Joe Biden was a close friend of New Zealand and visited here in 2016, the most senior US politician to do so since President Bill Clinton attended APEC in 1999.

"New Zealand will continue to work side-by-side with the United States on the issues that matter to both of us, including the prosperity, security, and sustainability in the Indo-Pacific and Pacific Island regions.

"The campaign by the President-elect has also shown the shared interests we have in addressing global challenges like COVID-19 and climate change.

"There are many challenges in front of the international community right now, the message of unity from Joe Biden positions us well to take those challenges on."

Ardern also acknowledged outgoing President Trump.

"New Zealand has enjoyed positive and cooperative relations with the United States over the period of the Trump Administration, especially in the Indo-Pacific and Pacific Island regions."

Biden also received congratulatory messages from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, among others.