Bert Lance, reiterating a theme he has used several times since is resignation, told a group of New York businessmen today that government needs their help and advice more now than ever before.

Lance spoke less than 15 minutes at the annual awards luncheon of the Fifth Avenue Association, Inc., and had offered to answer questions later.

But none was offered from the 900 businessmen.

Although Lance received a warm round of applause, dozens of businessmen headed for the exits when he ended his talk.

The awards luncheon lasted about 1 1/2 hours and Lance's remarks were preceded by presentations of several civic and association awards.

Lance told reporters later he was pleased with the reception, which he characterized as "super and fantastic." He also said the reaction of bankers at an association meeting in Houston earlier this week was "very responsive and very cordial."

He implied in his remarks to the New York group that news reports that he got an "unethusiastic" reception at the American Bankers Association meeting Tuesday wtre inaccurate as the event drew a record crowd.

Lance told the audience that, while his experience in government had not always been pleasant or easy, it had been satisfying. He said he still maintained his basic commitment that those in the private sector need to offer their knowledge and service to ensure that government is responsive.

"I don't think there her ever been a time when it's more important for people of your ability, leadership traits and desire to see something worthwhile take place being involved in government - whether it's state or local or the federal government - than right now," he told the businessmen.