About 5 years ago now. Still in contact with buddies in Transpower, and their various contracted out comms stuff.
It's not really "smart meters are a waste of money" there are many good reasons for them, and replacing shitty pre-paids should be top of the list. It's that there is an idea that smart meters will reduce demand, by making us all more aware of our usage. so we should all have one, is poxy. Having it mandated by government, not paid for out of taxes but by raising the costs of electricity supply, and then told that it's for our own good is what the objections are.
Smart meters can and should be used in new builds, when replacement is required, and when the current meters are anti-competitive or predatory. I think they also should be available for anyone who wants one, certainly if different tariffs are available to different customers.
You could save money on your power bill by changing behavior, and by reading the damn thing and comparing prices. Price watch sites have been around for 10+ years, and before that any budget advisor/CAB/friend would help you if your math was shit. The information about your power usage is already available, and there has been years of poking and propping to get you to work out your best option.