Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has signalled that New Zealand will criticise US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in a United Nations vote tomorrow.

But she stopped short of calling him a bully, as Trump threatened to cut US aid money to countries that voted against him.

Countries will vote tomorrow on the UN General Assembly resolution declaring that Jerusalem's status can be changed only by direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

The US president strongly supported US Ambassador Nikki Haley, who said that the United States "will be taking names" of countries that support the resolution.


"For all these nations, they take our money and then vote against us. They take hundreds of millions of dollars, even billions of dollars and then they vote against us," Trump told reporters in Washington today.

"We're watching those votes. Let them vote against us ... We'll save a lot. We don't care."

Ardern was critical when Trump first recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital earlier this month, saying it "will make things difficult" for peace.

Today she said the logistics around tomorrow's vote were still being ​worked through, but New Zealand's position had not changed.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has signalled that NZ will support a UN resolution critical of Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has signalled that NZ will support a UN resolution critical of Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Photo / Mark Mitchell

"Some of the things we saw by international actors like the US recently, those are decision that should only be made in the context of a [UN] resolution around a two-state solution. It took us backwards, not forwards."

Asked about possible aid sanctions, she said: "I would push back strongly and say New Zealand has and will always have an independent foreign policy. We base our decisions on principle, not on being bullied."

She was not concerned by his threats to cut off aid.

"We've always made decisions that represent our beliefs and our position, and we'll continue to do that. We've done it on things like nuclear issues before and we'll continue to do so."

Asked if she thought Trump was a bully, she said: "People make their own interpretations."

The vote will show whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has succeeded in his efforts to drum up new pockets of support in the developing world.

The Palestinians sought the General Assembly vote after the United States on Monday vetoed a resolution supported by the 14 other UN Security Council members that would have required Trump to rescind his declaration on Jerusalem as Israel's capital and not move the US Embassy there.

Unlike the Security Council, assembly resolutions are not legally binding but they do reflect world opinion.

Last December New Zealand co-sponsored UN resolution UNSC2334, which condemned Israeli settlements in Palestine. It lead to Israel withdrawing its ambassador to New Zealand and barring the New Zealand ambassador in Israel.

Diplomatic relations were restored in June after then-Prime Minister Bill English wrote to Israel expressing regret over the fallout from the resolution.

The resolution features in the Labour-New Zealand First coalition agreement, which states a commitment to "record a Cabinet minute regarding the lack of process followed prior to the National-led Government's sponsorship of UNSC2334".

​The Israel Institute of NZ urged the Government to vote against the UN resolution and said it should also recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.