The guaranteed Māori seats are a distinguishing and controversial feature of New Zealand’s democracy. In recent years, a number of reports, commentators and politicians have called for the seats to be abolished on the grounds that they are no longer “needed” in New Zealand’s proportional electoral system. These claims are usually grounded in principles of equality. This paper makes the opposite claim: that principles of equality create convincing and coherent justifications for the Māori seats. Drawing on feminist theories of representation, particularly the work of Iris Marion Young, Melissa Williams and Anne Phillips, this paper argues that the Māori seats provide crucial mechanisms of accountability that ensure the fidelity of Māori representatives to their constituencies. This notion of accountability has been largely absent in debates about the Māori seats and challenges arguments against the seats that are based solely on perceived “need” relative to proportionate presence.